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Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the UK. One in two people born in the UK after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. Anyone can develop cancer, but it becomes more common as we get older.

Your risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics and lifestyle, but in some cases the exact cause is difficult to determine. However, it is well known that two in five cancer cases in the UK each year are preventable and are linked to lifestyle factors.

Reducing Your Risk Of Cancer

Up to 40% of cancers in the UK could be prevented by making lifestyle changes. There are some small changes that you can make to your lifestyle which can drastically reduce your risk of being diagnosed with cancer. These include:

  • stopping smoking
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • reducing your alcohol intake
  • keeping physically active
  • reducing your time in the sun.

Diagnosing Cancer

Having symptoms does not mean that you have cancer – but it is important to see your GP. If cancer is diagnosed early, your chances of survival are much higher than if you are diagnosed late.

What Are The Signs Of Cancer?

Spotting cancer early will improve your survival rate, so it’s important that you recognise the signs and act.

You should always be aware of any unexplained changes to your body. Symptoms are often caused by non-cancerous illness but if you notice an unexplained change to your body you must go and see your GP so that they can investigate.

There are some common signs and symptoms of cancer that you can look out for, such as unusual lumps and swelling, changes in your body’s habits and unexplained weight loss.

Cancer Screening

One of the best things that you can do is remember to go along for cancer screening when notified by your GP practice – screening is one of the most effective ways to identify any early signs of cancer.

There are three main types of cancer screening – cervical, breast and bowel. Attending your regular cancer screening when notified by your GP is vitally important to pick up any abnormal cell changes. The earlier any potential signs of cancer are detected, the quicker you can be diagnosed and treated – which is proven to lead to better outcomes.  

Two Week Wait Referrals

If your GP suspects you may have cancer, they can refer you for urgent tests which should be carried out within two weeks. More information about two-week referrals can be viewed here.

BCCG Cancer Strategy

BCCG is committed to delivering a world-class cancer service for the people of Bedfordshire. To achieve this we have been working in partnership with Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support to develop a long-term strategy for cancer care which can be viewed here. 

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