This Friday (February 4) on World Cancer Day, leading local charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is urging people to become familiar with the main signs and symptoms of cancer, to contact their GP immediately if they have any concerns, and to attend cancer screening when called.
Although 1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime, the good news is that for many cancers, survival rates are increasing. This is in part, due to early detection.
Anthony Stuart, Community Wellbeing Manager for Cancer Focus NI, says: “Early detection of cancer can make it more treatable, so it’s important that people pay attention to their bodies and can recognise the main signs and symptoms for common cancers, as well as general symptoms, such as: unexplained lumps and bumps, unexplained weight loss or persistent pains, aches and fatigue. Although these symptoms are often caused by something less serious, you know your body better than anyone else, so if in doubt, get it checked out. Detecting cancer early could save your life.”
In Northern Ireland every year around 13,800 people are diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately 4,450 lose their lives. The most common cancers for women are nonmelanoma skin cancer, breast, lung and bowel, and for men are nonmelanoma skin cancer, prostate, lung and bowel cancer*.
Anthony continued “The good news is that 40% of cancers can be prevented if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, have regular health checks and use screening services. By being UV aware, quitting smoking, limiting your alcohol intake, being physically active and eating a healthy diet, we can all reduce our risk of getting cancer.”
Cancer Focus NI has a number of vital support services to help local people and their families affected by cancer. These services include counselling, family support, specialist bra fitting, art therapy and a patient driving service. The charity offers a range of health improvement services including the Keeping Well vans, stop smoking service, schools’ programmes and skin cancer prevention work, and also funds local pioneering research at Queen’s University Belfast.
Anthony continued, “Cancer Focus NI will continue to deliver our vital health improvement services and encourage people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer. During the pandemic GP surgeries have remained open. If you have any concerns, your GP will want to see you. Early detection saves lives.”
To get to know the signs and symptoms of cancer, visit cancerfocusni.org/signs-symptoms or find out more about our services at cancerfocusni.org.
For more information contact Fionnuala Pimley at email@example.com/ 07977 332358
Notes to editor
*Statics reference – NI Cancer Registry, Incidence by cancer type: https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/FileStore/OfficialStats2019/Amendments/Allcancers/Filetoupload,1233963,en.pdf