World Cancer Day – A round up of the facts

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With World Cancer Day today, Sally shares a round up of the headlines and studies we have been reporting on – from the most common questions, to the things that you can do to help your chances.

Today is World Cancer Day – a day when people across the world unite in raising awareness of cancer, and the importance of detection, prevention and treatment. There are an estimated 2.5 million people in the UK living with a cancer diagnosis, and most of us will have been affected by cancer in our lives – either directly, or through our loved ones, and so, we all know the destruction that cancer can wreak. That said, as the years go on, treatments are getting better, and more and more people are surviving a cancer diagnosis. One of the most important reason behind this is that we are increasingly aware of the signs and symptoms and what we can do to help our chances.  I thought I would share a quick round-up of all the headlines and studies that we have been reporting on over the past few months – from the common FAQs, to the things that we can do to reduce our cancer risk:

What causes cancer… lifestyle or luck?

Not that long ago you may have seen headlines quoting a study claiming that cancer is more down to bad luck than lifestyle. But how accurate is this analysis? And does this really mean that a healthy, active lifestyle is useless when it comes to reducing our risk of cancer? I was far from convinced! In this article I took a look at the study in more depth. Not just to clear up the confusion it raised, but also to help you understand how you can reduce your risk of cancer.

Breast Cancer: Q&A

Breast cancer is a case in point. Without doubt there are bad genes which can raise some peoples risk of breast cancer quite significantly. But there is a lot you can do to help reduce your risk or at the very least, pick it up earlier which makes successful treatment more likely. In this article I answer some of the commonly asked questions surrounding breast cancer. See how much you know about breast cancer risk and how you can reduce your chances of problems in the future…
Read full article here

Obesity and cancer – the facts you need to know

We all know that being overweight or obese isn’t good for our health, but did you know just how bad it can be? Studies have linked obesity to an increased risk of various diseases such as type-2 diabetes, and, according to recent studies, some types of cancer too. In this article, I take a look at the science behind these claims, breaking it down to the facts that you need to know, and helping you to understand the symptoms to look out for and providing you with pro-active tips to reduce your weight – now.

Take the breast test

World Cancer Day: What you can do…

Be aware of your body. Many types of cancer will cause changes in our bodies, but sometime these changes might be very small, so by being aware of what is normal for you, you’ll be more likely to know when something is different.

Checks. As I mentioned, keeping track of changes in your body is one of the easiest and simplest ways to check for signs of cancer. From the regular checks you can do at home, to going into the doctors for your smear test or breast examination, I cannot stress enough quite how important these checks are.

See your doctor. If you notice a change in your body – whether it is a mole that has changed shape, dimpling in the skin around your nipple, irregular bleeding, or any other change that doesn’t feel right to you, then it is worth making an appointment to see your doctor. A change like this doesn’t necessarily mean cancer, in fact, there are loads of common conditions that have very similar symptoms. But either way, checking with your doctor means you’ll know what is going on, and can get on with dealing with whatever the issue is. Chances are, there is nothing serious going on, but get it checked out so that you can spend less time worrying!

Don’t let embarrassment put you off. Ok – you may not want to discuss your rectal bleeding or breast lump with your doctor. It’s a big deal for you to whip off your smalls at the surgery and have a smear. You may cringe with embarrassment at the very idea. But believe me, it’s all in a day’s work for us doctors who don’t even give it a thought! So, for goodness sake, don’t put your health at risk because you are worried about sharing personal details with your doctor.

Last but not least, don’t panic.Though many of the statistics you might hear surrounding cancer can seem overwhelming, there is a lot that you can do to reduce your risk – or at the very least, ensure you pick it up early! Almost all cancers are treatable, but the sooner they are picked up, the better your chances. Nothing is too trivial to mention to your doctor – we would much rather you came to us early with your problems than have to help you deal with devastating consequences later on. Treatments are improving all the time, and as a result, our chances of beating cancer have too, so don’t assume the worst. But don’t leave it to chance either – there are a lot of things you can do to improve your luck!

Follow this link for more information about the signs and symptoms of cancer.

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