Cancer – what is it, how might I know there’s a problem and what should I do?
Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce but not in a controlled way. Because the cells are changed, they no longer perform the function that they were designed for, they can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue and so impact how a particular organ works. Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis.
1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. In the UK, the 4 most common types of cancer are breast, lung, prostate and bowel.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer so as you can imagine the warning signs may differ and each is diagnosed and treated in a particular way. Common themes, however, may include:
-blood in your pee, poo or phlegm when coughing
-a lump or swelling
-a persistent cough (for 3 weeks or more)
Although unlikely to be cancer, it’s important to speak to a GP about any new or worrying symptoms so that they can be assessed and investigated as we do know that finding cancer early often means that it’s easier to treat.
It’s also important to keep up to date with cancer screening appointments as screening can often detect cancer at its earliest stage before symptoms develop. If you have missed a screening appointment or feel you should have been invited, please talk to your GP.
If you are interested in reading more about cancer and its signs and symptoms, the following links have more useful information.
Most importantly, remember Cancer Relief are here to support you if you have been affected by cancer in any way. From queries and concerns to support after a diagnosis to hands-on care, we can provide individualised care to help you manage the effects of cancer on your life. Call us today on 20042392 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cancer Research UK: cancer symptom checker
- Macmillan: signs and symptoms of cancer
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): referral for suspected cancer