Be Clear on Cancer

Be Clear on Cancer

You’re twice as likely to survive cancer as you were 40 years ago.

Around 268,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in England every year. It mainly affects older people, with almost 9 out of 10 cases diagnosed in people aged 50 or over. But thousands of people survive cancer every year, and patients say the quality of care for people being treated for cancer is improving.


How to spot cancer

When it comes to cancer, there are 4 key signs to look out for:

1. Unexplained blood that doesn’t come from an obvious injury

2. An unexplained lump

3. Unexplained weight loss, which feels significant to you

4. Any type of unexplained pain that doesn’t go away.

If you notice any of these, make an appointment to see your doctor. Chances are it’s nothing serious, but if it is cancer, then finding it early makes it more treatable.

These are four key signs of cancer, but you should also see your doctor if you notice anything that is persistent, unexplained or an unusual change in your body:

• Persistent – symptoms that last three weeks or more, such as a cough, a mouth or tongue ulcer, a sore that doesn’t heal or bloating

• Unexplained – such as difficulty swallowing food, or needing to pee very often or very suddenly

• Unusual change for you – such as a change in the size, shape or colour of a mole, or a change to your nipple, or the skin or shape of your breast.

These symptoms can often have less serious causes. But if you notice them, your doctor will want to know – it may be a sign of something that needs treatment.


See your doctor

You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting any of these symptoms checked out. If it isn’t serious, your mind will be put at rest. But if it is cancer, early diagnosis can make all the difference. The sooner cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment.

If you’ve been to the doctor but your symptoms haven’t gone away, he or she will want to know. It’s important to see your doctor again if your symptoms persist.

If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, tell them they should see their doctor. Again, it’s probably nothing serious, but they should get it checked out.

You can find your doctor’s contact details at

For more information about cancer, visit NHS Choices

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