Around 460 people each year living in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Cancer Network area will lose their lives because they go to their GP with cancer symptoms late. The sooner people with possible cancer symptoms are referred to hospital the better their chances of survival are. Many cancers can be cured if detected early enough.
Cancer is a term that is used to refer to a number of conditions where the body's cells begin to grow and reproduce in an uncontrollable way. This rapid growth of cancerous cells is known as a malignant tumour. These cells can then invade and destroy healthy tissue, including organs.
Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other parts. This process is known as metastasis. Treatments for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
There are hundreds of different types of cancer. The most common cancers in the UK are:
Cancer of colon or rectum
Risk factors for cancer include smoking, drinking alcohol, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, and prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Cancer can often be managed more easily when it is diagnosed in the early stages. Being aware of your body and what is 'normal' for you and reporting symptoms to your GP as soon as possible, can help to make sure that, if you do have cancer, it is diagnosed quickly so treatment can begin.
There are some common signs and symptoms that may alert you to the fact that something is new or different. You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:
Coughing, breathlessness and hoarseness
Changes in bowel habit or bleeding when going to the loo
Unexplained weight loss
Many of the above symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer. If you have any of the above symptoms, you should not assume that you have cancer. Your GP will be able to advise you and you can be given tests to confirm whether it is cancer or not.
Making some simple changes to your lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer. Eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise and avoiding smoking will all help to lower your risk of getting major health conditions, such as cancer.
THE same day June Cunniffe was diagnosed with breast cancer,she went playing golf – and won a cup.
A few hours in her company reveals that’s exactly the kind of positive outlook she has on everything in life. Giggling about her sporting prowess that afternoon, she acknowledges it was also an extremely hard day as she had to break news of her illness to her husband and four children.
Read more about June's inspirational story. (PDF 1.54 MB)