Council focuses on signs and symptoms of main cancers

Wed, 13 Feb 2019

After a successful launch of the year-long cancer awareness project to encourage people to talk more about cancer, help support residents to have those difficult conversations and to check their body, East Riding of Yorkshire Council urges residents to take note of the information below.

In general, if cancer is diagnosed early, there is an 81% chance of survival. If diagnosed late, the chance of survival drops dramatically to 26%.

John Skidmore, director of adults, health and customer services, said: “If you notice signs and symptoms which are persistent and are not going away, you are not sure why they are happening or they are not normal for your body, seek advice from your doctor.

“The chances are this is nothing to worry about, but the doctor will want to see you to make sure.”

This year-long campaign focuses on a different theme each month and this month (February) is about information on the main cancers, how to recognise the signs and symptoms and getting early diagnoses.

Cancer is the name given to an illness resulting from one of our body’s own cells growing out of control.

Usually they form a lump of tissue called a tumour (primary). If the cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is more difficult to treat (secondary). The cancer can then spread to many parts of the body (metastasis).

There are many different types of cancer, but lung, bowel (colorectal), breast and prostate are often referred to as the four main types.

In 2016, there were 2,868 new cases of cancer in residents of the East Riding of Yorkshire and over the past five years there have been in average 2,800 new cases of cancer per year.

In terms of mortality, in 2016 there were 1,080 East Riding residents (of all ages) who died from cancer. Of those residents, 42% were aged under 75 years.

It is estimated that thousands of lives in the UK can be saved every year if efforts to improve diagnosis and early presentation to the GP are increased.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer mainly affects older people and is rare in people younger than 40. It is most commonly diagnosed in people aged 70-74 and people who have never smoked can develop lung cancer, although smoking is the main cause.

Signs and symptoms

  • Having a cough for longer than three weeks for no obvious reason
  • Get out of breath easily
  • Frequent chest infections
  • A change in a cough you have had for a long time
  • Coughing up phlegm with signs of blood in it
  • Chest or shoulder pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Losing weight

Bowel cancer

Bowel cancer can affect men and women. It is also referred to as colorectal cancer or colon cancer. It can affect anywhere between the colon (large bowel) and the rectum (back passage).

Nine out of ten people will survive bowel cancer if it is caught early.

Signs and symptoms

  • A persistent change in bowel habit to looser or more frequent bowel motions
  • A strange smell from your bowel movement
  • Tummy pain, especially severe
  • A lump in your tummy
  • Bleeding from the bottom without any obvious reason

Breast cancer

Be breast aware, get to know your own body, know what is normal for you and if you notice any changes please tell your GP as soon as you spot them.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and is more common in older women, but can affect younger women. One in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Men can get breast cancer, but this is very rare.

Women can develop breast cancer at any time. Changes in your breast may be harmless, but you should get them checked straight away.

Signs and symptoms

  • Any lumps, thickening or bumpy areas
  • Lumps under the arm
  • Changes in appearance (puckered or dimpled skin)
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Nipple discharge, a rash, red areas that won’t heal, or a change in your nipple position (pointing differently or pulled in)

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer affects men only. There is a very low risk in men under the age of 50, but the risk does increase after that age.

Signs and symptoms

The following symptoms may be caused by problems that are much less serious than prostate cancer. Try not to worry if you develop any of them; however do get them checked out by your doctor.

  • Difficulty or pain in passing urine
  • Having to rush to the toilet to pass urine
  • Frequent visits to the toilet, especially at night
  • Starting and stopping while urinating
  • Dribbling urine
  • A feeling of not having emptied the bladder fully

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer

If you are concerned about any signs and symptoms you have visit your doctor who will be happy to help.

To be involved in the project as a case study or partner please email kimberley.nichol@eastriding.gov.uk or call (01482) 391444.