I'd like to focus on the first two aspects of prevention and detection, because I think many of us don't appreciate just how much we can do, as individuals, to reduce the risk of bowel cancer - and because these are the areas where Public Health England (PHE) has the most to contribute.
Let's face it, men are rubbish at talking seriously about their health. Other than sporadically airing my own health-related neuroses, my own previous form on serious cancer talk is questionable. Other than a mere cursory chat to a friend about his mother's breast cancer diagnosis, it's probably zero.
UK research shows that for every breast cancer death that is prevented by screening, 180 women need to be screened and of those women, three will be unnecessarily diagnosed and treated
Monday is United Nations' World Health Day, where those of us working to improve the health of people across the globe traditionally deliver a clarion call to galvanise people into action. It's a moment when, to paraphrase Kofi Annan, we remind world governments that health is to be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for.
Dear American Citizen, I write from the other side of the Atlantic. Our homelands are separated by a vast, malevolent body of water. Thousands of miles stand between us, yet still we share so many things, music, theatre, fashion, culture, history, high street stores and banking ties, and much more. Our military train together, and politicians lean on each other. We really aren't that different.
I am going to be upfront about this. Cancer is a great way to weed out the duffs. To sift the men from the boys. It really reveals what type of partner you have and the true nature of your relationship. Granted, it might be a little radical as a strategy of choice. But as I had always been a bit of a beacon for dysfunctional men, I am more than a little happy with my experiment!
Such a thing as the impact of pesticide exposure on health is a small, albeit important, part of a million piece puzzle we are only just starting to solve. It cannot be denied that this research is incredibly important, it is welcome and essential and I'd hope that in 10 years' time we'd have seen more research so we could start to make conclusions on this issue.
In a world where everyone is so busy and constantly on the go, it's very rare that we get to stop and think about the things that are important to us. Last week, it was refreshing to see a campaign which cut through the noise and saw people come together to take action for a very worthy cause.
As we now know, the #nomakeupselfie originally started in solidarity to actress Kim Novak who was shamed by commentators for her looks. Entirely separate from cancer and from charity, it remained a brazen, slightly chipped middle finger to our image obsessed world.
At times, I confess to feeling more than a little guilty; Guilty for surviving when so many others who were diagnosed after me, and who were younger than I, have since died. Guilty for going on about the cancer long after the drama of treatment has finished. Guilty for not always remembering to be thankful and seize the day. And guilty for all the trouble and worry I put my loved ones through.
When the selfies first started appearing in our Cancer Research UK newsfeeds, a few of our supporters got in touch on Facebook and Twitter to ask if we'd started the campaign. We tweeted that it wasn't ours but that we appreciated the sentiment, and we directed people to our website if they wanted to get involved with our work to beat cancer sooner. Less than 12 hours later, we'd been retweeted hundreds of times and we were seeing more and more selfies appearing from people saying they were doing it for us. We knew we needed to act fast so we took a picture of a team member without makeup holding a sign with our text to donate code.
With all the kisses, lunches and love that comes of this Sunday, I'd suggest looking around you and seeing if there are mums who need our extra support. Here are a few you might want to give extra love to:
As an ex-cancer patient, I made pretty clear early on that the "no makeup selfie" had zero relevance to the experience of cancer. In my eyes, the NMS was supposed to be a move of solidarity for the people going through cancer. Baring yourself, exposing yourself, making you feel vulnerable, to try to understand a mere taste of the fragility that someone with cancer experiences when they look in the mirror. The photos I saw did not show that.
Narcissism. Isn't it awful? Isn't it just the worst? You open your newsfeed and you see Instagram galore, "look how amazing my life is xoxo", and accidentally EXTREMELY CAREFULLY LIT stunningly beautiful superhuman selfies, as far as the eye can see.
Why are people angry that women who've posted have received 'natural beauty' acclamations from friends and strangers? Personally I think if women want to congratulate one another on their collective natural beauty this can only be a step in the right direction of mutual support and love
There's no way to avoid technology on a day to day basis, so is there an issue with utilising this online access to the world wide public? It opens up another avenue for individuals to become lazy, but also, it's a great source of widening people's knowledge and understanding of the world around them, and bringing major issues to light.