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Health Matters - World Cancer Day

Health Matters - World Cancer Day
23 January 2019

Dr Mike Clark, cancer lead at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG and GP with High Street Surgery, Macclesfield

Nearly 1,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK, with an average of one in three people developing some form of cancer during their lifetime.

That’s why I'm supporting World Cancer Day next Monday (February 4).

The campaign is focused on the slogan ‘I Am and I Will’, highlighting that no matter who you are, you have the power to reduce the impact of cancer for yourself, the people you love and for the rest of the world too.

The Union for International Cancer Control encourages people to get to know their body as some cancers show early signs and symptoms. A full list can be found here. Better to have a conversation about your concern with your GP, who may undertake further tests.

The campaign also highlights the importance of programmes for breast cancer screeningcervical screening and bowel cancer screening, which are national programmes offered free of charge by the NHS. Screening aims to save lives by helping identify cancer at an early stage, often at a time when there are no visible indicators or symptoms. The benefit of this is that cancer detected at an early stage is often more easily treated; that’s why it’s so important to take up the offer when you’re invited by your GP.

It’s reassuring to see that so many people in Eastern Cheshire seize the opportunity to get screened, with our area’s uptake level significantly higher than both the Cheshire and Merseyside average and the England average. However, there is still room for improvement as our uptake remains below the national aspiration target set by NHS England.

Experts estimate that around four in 10 cancer cases could be prevented, which means we all can reduce our cancer risk, largely through lifestyle changes such as:

  • Not smoking
  • Keeping a healthy bodyweight
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Cutting back on alcohol
  • Enjoying the sun safely
  • Keeping active.

The Macmillan Cancer Support website has more information about how a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your chances of developing cancer. Search for "reducing your risk".

Click here to find out more about World Cancer Day.