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About Cancer

Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.

Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis. There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment.

Changes to your body's normal processes or symptoms that are out of the ordinary can sometimes be an early sign of cancer. In many cases, your symptoms are not related to cancer and are caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions. However, it is still important that you visit your GP so your symptoms can be investigated.

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

  • Giving up smoking
  • Keeping to a healthy weight
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Being physically active
  • Limiting how much alcohol you drink
  • Taking care in the sun


Cervical Screening

A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer.

Cervical screening is offered to women aged 25 to 64 in England because of the benefits of screening, including finding abnormal cells early so they can be treated quickly. Women who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for cervical screening.

This includes women who have had the HPV vaccination, as the vaccine doesn't protect against all types of HPV linked to cervical cancer so it doesn't guarantee complete protection against cervical cancer.


Breast Cancer Screening

About 1 in 8 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. If it's detected early, treatment is more successful and there's a good chance of recovery.

Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early. It uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they're too small to see or feel.

As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged 50 to 70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every 3 years.


Bowel Cancer Screening

Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime.

Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it's easier to treat. It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps which can turn into cancer over time. All men and women aged 60 to 74 who are registered with a GP in England are automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years.

Make sure your GP has the correct address so your kit is posted to the right place. If you're 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

Support Organisations

Macmillan Cancer Support Logo

Macmillan is a charity that helps support people and their families who are affected by cancer by offering them support financially and emotionally. They hold many fundraising events, campaigning events and have plenty of opportunities for people to volunteer.

Macmillan Cancer Support

Cancer Research UK Logo
Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK fund scientists, doctors, and nurses to help beat cancer sooner. A number of bodies work together to ensure that they make the best use of the funds they receive and continue to carry out world-class research. They also provide information on cancer to the public.

Cancer Research UK

Useful Contacts & Information

Cancer Research UK Logo

Spotting cancer at an early stage saves lives, so tell your doctor if you notice anything that isn’t normal for you.

You don’t need to try and remember all the signs and symptoms of cancer – listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you notice anything that isn’t normal for you.

Last updated: 27/02/2023