Some gastro-intestinal (GI) cancers disproportionately affect men. This Father’s Day, honour the dads in your life by being aware of the risks of GI cancers and encouraging those around you to do the same.
Gastro-intestinal (GI) cancers are cancers in the digestive tract, including cancers of the oesophagus, gallbladder & biliary tract, liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, bowel (large intestine or colon and rectum), and anus. Overall, less than half of the people diagnosed with these cancers live for longer than five years past their initial diagnosis. This is far lower than the survival rates for some other cancers, like prostate cancer, where the five-year survival rate is 92%.
Men are particularly susceptible to some GI cancers, especially liver, stomach, and oesophageal cancer. In 2018, three quarters of all people diagnosed with liver cancer will be men. Men are almost twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with stomach and oesophageal cancer.
These cancers are aggressive and when they strike, whole families are affected. For the Simpson family, losing their father Matt to stomach cancer in 2013 was devastating. Trine Simpson remembers first-hand the devastating effect her husband’s death had on their sons, Daniel and Oliver.
“I will never be able to have an answer for our boys when they ask me why their Dad got sick and he could not be cured,” she says. “My hope is that others in the future will not have to answer those same questions about their loved ones because of the availability of far better treatments.”
You can reduce the risk of you or someone you love developing these cancers by being aware of the risk factors. These include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Infections, such as viruses, bacteria and parasites
- Family history and genetic susceptibility
- Red meat and processed meat (for colorectal cancer)
- Excess body weight
- Physical inactivity
- Exposure to chemicals, dust, radiation or industrial processes.
Progress is being made to GI cancer treatment. Research in to stomach cancer over the past few decades has contributed to a 10% rise in five-year survival rates in the last thirty years. However, there are still many unanswered questions that need to be addressed to give hope to families.
If you would like to make a difference and honour the Dads in your life, you can make a donation – 100% of our donations go directly to research and clinical trials:
Featured image by SA. on Flickr: https://bit.ly/2wteazX.