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A scary word

You can reduce your risk of cancer by leading a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes. There are no proven ways to prevent cancer but you can reduce your risk of getting it.

It is important to know your body and recognise any changes, such as lumps or unexplained bleeding and to get advice about whether they might be serious. Check yourself regularly. The most important thing is not to ignore something you notice. Take advantage of the free screening available. Screening aims to pick up cancer at an early stage when treatment is likely to be more effective. Many cancers can be controlled and cured if caught early on. Some of the most common forms of cancer are Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Bowel Cancer and Skin Cancer. See the following pages for more details on these types of cancer.

GP says...


If you are aged 60 to 69 you will automatically be invited for screening for a range of cancers every two years. People aged 70 and over can request screening if they have not been automatically invited. Over 70s can request a testing kit by calling the free helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

All women aged 50 to 70 are invited to attend mammograms every three years at a hospital or mobile screening unit. After the age of 70, women can make their own appointments for screening or visit every three years.

There are over 200 types of cancer which can cause a number of different symptoms. Often these symptoms are not cancer at all but it is far better to get checked out ‘to be safe’, and if it is, get early treatment.

Lung and Bowel Cancer are the most common types of cancers in both sexes.

If your symptoms indicate cancer your GP will ask for you to have an urgent hospital appointment within two weeks. Find out more about the 'two week' appointment system.





Lung Cancer is more common in the over 50s. Finding it early improves the chances of successful treatment. Not only smokers get Lung Cancer (around 1 in 8 of sufferers has never smoked).


  • Coughing for 3 weeks or longer.
  • Repeated chest infections.
  • Ache in the chest.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Feeling extra tired.
  • Losing weight.


Bowel Cancer if more common in the over 50s. Finding it early improves the chances of successful treatment.


  • Blood in your poo or it's been looser for 3 weeks or longer.
  • A pain or lump in your tummy.
  • Feeling extra tired.
  • Losing weight for no obvious reason.

Not all symptoms mean it is Bowel Cancer, and other conditions such as piles have similar symptoms.



There are different types of Skin Cancer but most Skin Cancers are caused by long-term exposure to the sun. Fair skin is more at risk of sun damage. As we age our skin has more time to build up sun damage.


  • Unusual lumps and sores.
  • A spot or sore that does not heal within 4 weeks.
  • A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, scab, crust or bleed for more than 4 weeks.
  • Areas where the skin has broken down or become an ulcer and it does not heal within 4 weeks.


Prostate Cancer generally affects men over 50. It is the most common type of cancer in men. It differs from most other cancers, in that small areas of cancer within the prostate are common and may stay dormant for years.

Visit: prostatecanceruk.org

Find out about your prostate


  • Problems passing urine.
  • Lumps or changes in testicles.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Blood in urine or semen.

Not everyone experiences symptoms of Prostate Cancer. Many times, signs are fist detected by a Doctor during a routine check-up.



Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. About 46,000 women get Breast Cancer in the UK each year. Most of them (8 out of 10) are over 50.


  • Breast Cancer can have a number of symptoms but usually shows as a lump or thickening in the breast tissue (although most breast lumps are not cancerous).
  • Lumps or changes in breast(s) - size, shape and skin.
  • Discharge from either nipple (which may be streaked with blood).
  • Coughing up blood.
  • A lump or swelling in either armpit.


Lower your risk of developing cancer by:

  • A healthy balanced diet and keeping to a healthy weight.
  • Drinking less alcohol.
  • Stopping smoking.
  • Protecting your skin from harmful sun damage.

What to do: Go to your GP

Most cancers if diagnosed early on are easier to treat and have a greater chance of being treated successfully.

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