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Modern life is KILLING children: gadgets, pollution and pesticides are blamed as cancer rates soar 40 per cent in just 16 years

  • Cancer cases in children has risen by 1,300 year on year since 1998
  • Research found that colon cancer jumped by 200% in the past 18 years
  • Fast food, lack of exercise, radiation and pollution contributed to the rise
  • Experts says they ’are fighting a losing battle’ in the fight against cancer

Pollution, pesticides and fast food is killing our children with new government statistics revealing that the number of youngsters diagnosed with cancer has risen by 40% over the past 16 years.

Analysis compiled by researchers from the charity Children with Cancer UK found new cases of cancer in young people rose by 1,300 every year since statistics were last compiled in 1998.

The charity found this is most evident in colon cancer which has increased by 200% and thyroid cancer which has seen its cases doubled during the 18 years since the last report was released.

Although researchers can attribute some of the rise to improvements in cancer diagnoses and more screening, they admit the majority is probably caused by environmental factors.

Alasdair Philips, science adviser at Children with Cancer UK told Sky News that there seems to be ’a correlation between the lifestyle of young people’ ’They tend to be doing a lot less exercise and there’s also a lot of fast food being eaten, which is fine in moderation, but we know they do contain cancer giving substances,’ he said.

’It sometimes feels like we are fighting a losing battle.’ It is hard for children to avoid air pollution which has contributed to the rise in cancer among young people. Doctors also fear radiation from phones could be a culprit although this has yet to be confirmed.

’So if you eat well-cooked meat and burgers and it goes into your colon and hangs around because you’re not doing much exercise, it’s more likely to cause damage. I think that’s part of the issue.’

Dr Denis Henshaw, Professor of Human Radiation Effects at Bristol University and the scientific adviser for Children with Cancer UK, said air pollution is the main reason for the increasing number of cancer cases while rising rates of obesity, among other causes, played there part too.

’When you look at cancers such as childhood leukaemia there is no doubt that environmental factors are playing a big role,’ said Dr Henshaw. ’We were shocked to see the figures, and it’s modern lifestyle I’m afraid.

Children with Cancer UK found that there have been 1,300 new cases of cancer in young people every year since statistics were compiled in 1998.

’Many items on the list of environmental causes are now known to be carcinogenic, such as air pollution and pesticides and solvents. There has been good research to suggest a mother’s diet can damage DNA in cord blood. Light at night we know is very disruptive for the body, which is why shift workers have such bad health.

’Burnt barbecues, the electric fields of power lines, the electricity supply in your home. Hairdryers. It’s all of these things coming together, and it seems to be teenagers and young people that are most affected.

’What’s worrying is it is very hard to avoid a lot of these things. How can you avoid air pollution? It sometimes feels like we are fighting a losing battle.’

The research found that about 4,000 children and young people develop cancer each year in the UK and it is the leading cause of death in children aged one to 14.

However children make up less than 1% of all cases in the UK according to Nicola Smith a senior officer with Cancer Research UK.

’There are some factors which can increase the risk of childhood cancer like inherited genetic conditions and exposure to radiation – but these are usually not avoidable and no one should feel blamed for a child getting cancer,’ Smith told the Telegraph.

Despite the rise in cancer within young people 80% of cases live for at least another five years post diagnosis although aggressive treatment can have long term impacts on a child’s health after they have been cured.

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