Cancer advice and information

Clear on cancer 1

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.

Spotting cancer early will improve your survival rate, so it’s important that you recognise the signs and act. One of the best things that you can do is remember to go along for screening when you are recalled by your GP practice – it is one of the most effective ways to identify any early signs of cancer.

Learn more about the types of screening that are offered via the NHS.

What are the signs of cancer?

It is always important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body, or signs and symptoms that are unusual for you. Usually the chances are it’s not cancer or serious, but it is important to go and see your GP so that they can check you.

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.

Recognising the symptoms

In the below videos, local doctors from across mid and south Essex talk you through how to recognise and identify the signs and symptoms of some of the most common cancers.
Having symptoms does not mean that you have cancer. However, it is important to see your GP as soon as possible if you have any symptoms. If cancer is diagnosed early, your chances of survival are much better than if you are diagnosed late.

Breast cancer

Early diagnosis of breast cancer increases your chances of successful treatment. In this video, Dr Riya Amin talks about the ABCD of breast cancer symptoms and what you should be looking out for. If you notice anything different or unusual in your breasts, then get it checked. Remember to regularly check your breasts for any changes.

Prostate and testicular cancer

Finding prostate and testicular cancers earlier increases your chances of successful treatment. Dr Mark Metcalfe talks about the ABCD of prostate and testicular cancer symptoms and what key signs to look out for. If you notice any of these symptoms, please speak to your GP as soon as possible.

More information on the signs and symptoms can be found on the websites below:

Patient Information Leaflets on Two Week Wait Referrals

If a GP suspects you may have cancer, they can refer you for urgent tests which should be carried out within two weeks. You can find more information about this sort of referral below:

Cancer screening

There are three main types of cancer screening – cervical, breast and bowel.

Attending your regular cancer screening when recalled 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.

Cervical cancer screening

Dr Andrea Oustayiannis and nurse Liza Benson talk about the importance of attending your cervical screening appointment and what you can expect.

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, and,
  • reducing your time in the sun.

Cancer Research UK have developed information about staying healthy at home. This includes lots of useful tips about making healthy choices and changes (during lockdown, if you’re shielding, or just getting used to a new routine).

COVID-19 and cancer

We understand that people are worried about coronavirus (COVID-19). Below is some information for people with cancer.

A FAQ about COVID-19 and cancer has been developed with the help of national cancer charities is available to download below.

Below are links to the pages dedicated to coronavirus information for Macmillan as well as Cancer Research UK:

Cancer support services

Macmillan offers emotional, physical and financial support and a range of support services are available from online communities to local groups. For more information, visit:

Cancer Research UK have a dedicated cancer chat forum, cancer information nurses and lots of resources and information for coping with cancer.