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People urged to get cancer aware

People urged to get cancer aware

Bradford clinical leaders are urging everyone to be cancer-aware and take up any screening invites they get to help more people beat cancer and stay well.

The message is simple: if you have any unusual signs and symptoms, tell your GP and make sure you attend cancer screening invites. This could save your life.

To get the message out loud and clear, the Bradford NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are holding a cancer awareness event in Centenary Square on Tuesday 18 August from 11.30am to 2pm.

With help from a range of partner organisations, the CCGs will be talking cancer to help dispel some myths around screening and treatment, and encourage people to have their screening. If their appointment has been missed when they were called, they can still take up the offer very easily.

The CCGs want more people to understand how they can prevent and survive cancer – and is working to do this through a combination of factors including early diagnosis, fast-track treatment and excellent support services.

Spotting the signs of cancer early through noticing anything unusual and attending screening appointments is one of the best ways that people can help themselves stay well and survive treatment.

Dr Ian Fenwick, the district’s clinical lead for cancer, said: “Changes to your body's normal processes or symptoms that are out of the ordinary can sometimes be an early sign of cancer. For example, a lump that suddenly appears on your body, unexplained bleeding or changes to your bowel habits are all symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor.

“In many cases, your symptoms won't be related to cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions. However, it's still important for you to see your GP so that they can investigate your symptoms.

“While our local cancer survival rates for patients are good, it is always important for everyone to be aware of any unusual symptoms and get them checked out by their GP, and to take up any screening invites they receive from the NHS.

“In Bradford we want to increase the numbers of people who take up the offer of screening as we have some of the lowest rates of uptake and in many cases if a cancer is detected early the prognosis is considerably better.”

Cancer is a very common condition. In 2011, almost 331,500 people in the UK were diagnosed with cancer.

More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. In the UK, the four most common types of cancer are:

  • breast cancer

  • lung cancer

  • prostate cancer

  • bowel cancer.

In 2011, these types of cancer accounted for over half (53%) of all new cases.

Making some simple changes to your lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer.

For example, healthy eating, taking regular exercise and not smoking will help lower your risk.

There are three types of cancer screening for adults in England, and they save thousands of lives each year.

Cervical screening is offered to women aged 25 to 64 to check the health of cells in the cervix. It is offered every three years between the ages of 26 and 49, and every five years between the ages of 50 and 64.

Most women's test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test will show some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

Breast cancer screening is offered to women aged 50 to 70 to detect early signs of breast cancer. Women aged 70 and over can self-refer.

This screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel. There's a good chance of recovery if the cancer is detected in its early stages.

Bowel cancer screening: a home testing kit is offered to men and women aged 60 to 74.

Everyone is welcome to come and see what is happening at the event in Centenary Square on 18 August, from 11.30am to 2pm.

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