Cancer Support

Detecting cancer at an early stage is incredibly important, as it means the cancer is far more likely to be treated successfully!

There are therefore a number of things that we can do to help this firstly it is important to attend screening appointments when invited, these are; Cervical Screening (age 25-64), Breast Screening (age 50-70) and to return Bowel Screening test kits which are sent by post (every 2 years from age 56-74 – you can request to continue this after you are 74).

Secondly if you have concerning symptoms or are worried you may have cancer it is important that you discuss this with your GP or other healthcare professional at your GP Surgery. For more information about signs and symptoms of cancer please look at the below infographic from Cancer research.

These are some of the key signs and symptoms of cancer. But if something’s unusual for you, it’s best to tell your doctor – even if it’s not on this list.

Cancer Symptoms


Cancer causes about 1 in 4 of all deaths in the UK. The 5 commonest cancers in the UK are:-

· Breast

· Prostate

· Lung

· Bowel

· Melanoma

Breast and bowel cancers have national screening programmes, and all of the above mentioned have preventable risk factors. Here at Medicus, we aim to help our patients reduce their chance of ever developing cancer and improve screening, which catches pre-cancer cells or early cancer, meaning you have a better chance to survive the diagnosis.

According to the World Health Organisation, 30-50% of all cancer cases are preventable (1). Preventable risk factors include:-

· Tobacco

Smoking is still THE number one cause of preventable death, disability and ill health in the UK, causing about 80,000 deaths per year and costing the NHS and the economy an estimated £17bn every year (2). As well as cancers, smoking is linked to heart disease, strokes and chronic lung diseases.

If you smoke and would like help giving up, or reducing how much you smoke, Medicus has a smoking cessation advisor that will see any Medicus patient. Please contact your GP surgery….

You may also find the following link useful:

· Alcohol

Alcohol increases the risk of 7 types of cancer, including some of the most common, such as breast and bowel cancer.

In 2019, it was found that 40% men and 20% women aged between 55- 64 years were drinking at a level considered to cause an ‘increased risk’ to health. In the UK, both men and women are advised to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. Keeping within the limits reduces the health risks, so don’t see the 14 units as a target – the less you drink, the lower your risk (3).

If you think that you may have an alcohol problem, you can access support by self-referring to the ENABLE team:

Address: 12 Centre Way, Claverings Industrial Estate, Montagu Road, Edmonton, London, N9 0AH

Phone: 020 8379 6010



  • Obesity

Cancer Research UK estimates that by 2040, more than 21 million UK adults will be obese, which is almost 4 in 10 of the UK adult population. Obesity increases the risk of at least 13 different types of cancer, and is the UK’s biggest cause of cancer after smoking.  This equates to about 23,000 cases per year (4).

There are lots of ways you can lose weight, from making changes in what you eat and drink to finding more support. Please see the following link to start you off:

You can also contact your GP to help with, for example, referrals to the dietician or digital weight loss team, issuing weight loss pills and in some select cases, referral for bariatric surgery.

  • Physical inactivity

Being active is a good all-rounder. As well as helping the heart and lifting the mood, being active also reduces cancer risk; especially bowel and breast cancers. This is for lots of reasons including by reducing insulin resistance and inflammation in the body, and keeping our weight down (6). The following link has lots of advice, including exercise guides, apps and home work-out videos:-

  • UVA and UVB sun rays and skin cancer

Most skin cancers can be avoided by reducing ultraviolet radiation exposure, from the sun and artificial tanning devices. UVA and UVB are the two main types of sun rays, and both cause cancer by damaging our skin cells. Please see the following link:-


Screening helps detect cancer early using simple tests to identify those who have the disease, but do not yet have symptoms. Cervical screening can even prevent cancer from developing by identifying pre-cancer cells. Early detection means treatment is more likely to be successful.

There are 3 types of national screening programme in the UK for bowel, breast and cervical cancers. In the UK, these account for about 100,000 new cancer cases per year, or over 25% of all new cancer diagnoses (7). Screening saves thousands of lives per year, is free, quick and you only have to do it once every few years.

Cervical screening

2 women die of cervical cancer every day in the UK. Deaths are especially common in deprived areas. Cervical screening is offered to all women and people with a cervix aged between 25-64 years-old. Unlike bowel and breast cancers, screening for cervical aims to detect pre-cancer cells, which means cure can be achieved  with minor surgical treatments. It typically takes no more than 10 minutes. And it could save your life 89% will survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis if detected early enough (8).

Get in touch with your GP practice to book your smear test today.

Bowel screening

Bowel cancer survival is improving and has more than doubled in the last 40 years in the UK. If diagnosed early, more than 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully. As part of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, men and women aged 60-74 are sent a home testing kit every two years to collect a small sample of poo to be checked for tiny amounts of blood which could be caused by cancer (9).

People aged over 74 can request a screening kit every 2 years by contacting the bowel cancer screening programme on: 0800 707 6060.

Breast screening

About 1 in 7 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Breast screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they’re too small to see or feel. It is offered to all women aged 50-70 years’ old, every 3 years. Women older than 70 can self-refer.

If you’re worried about breast cancer symptoms, such as a lump or an area of thickened tissue, or you notice that your breasts look or feel different from what’s normal for you, do not wait to be offered screening. See a GP (9).

This link gives lots of useful information:

More information and videos to support you including when to worry:

Cancer Support

Cancer pathway support guide: Your guide to key questions to ask when you are referred for tests to investigate for cancer, or if you have already been diagnosed with cancer. Click here for more information.

Cancer screening leaflet for people with learning disabilities


  8. Ages 15-39. See for more information