Over the weekend, leading childhood cancer charity, Children with Cancer UK, published research claiming that rates of childhood cancer had increased by 40% over the past 16 years. They blamed the modern lifestyle - a lack of exercise, unhealthy diets of fast food, breathing polluted air and using electronic devices for this massive rise.
These claims caused uproar amongst many who felt that attributing childhood cancer to lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, made parents feel blamed for their child’s cancer and would cause unnecessary fear and worry amongst parents.
Today Cancer Research UK has slammed these claims stating that the 40% rise in cancer in children and teenagers has been inflated as it does not account for the growth in population since 1997. When accounting for this, they found that childhood cancer has only risen between 8 and 18% which is more likely due to better detection of the disease rather than a surge in new cases.
Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer UK said “There is no convincing evidence that environmental factors cause cancer in children,” Dr Knight said. She added that whilst environmental factors do play a role in causing cancer in adults, “children haven’t had the exposure” adults have, meaning “there just isn’t the time for those factors to do the damage”.