Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.
Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis. There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment.
Changes to your body's normal processes or symptoms that are out of the ordinary can sometimes be an early sign of cancer. For example, a lump that suddenly appears on your body, unexplained bleeding or changes to your bowel habits are all symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor.
In many cases, your symptoms are not related to cancer and are caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions. However, it is still important that you visit your GP so your symptoms can be investigated.
Prevention and National Cancer Screening Programmes
A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer.
Cervical screening is offered to women aged 25 to 64 in England because of the benefits of screening, including finding abnormal cells early so they can be treated quickly. Women who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for cervical screening.
This includes women who have had the HPV vaccination, as the vaccine doesn't protect against all types of HPV linked to cervical cancer so it doesn't guarantee complete protection against cervical cancer.
Find out more about HPV vaccination here
Deciding whether or not to have a screening test is your choice.
Bowel Cancer Screening.
Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime.
Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it's easier to treat. It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps which can turn into cancer over time. All men and women aged 60 to 74 who are registered with a GP in England are automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years.
Make sure your GP has the correct address so your kit is posted to the right place.
If you're 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.
Breast Cancer Screening.
About 1 in 8 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. If it's detected early, treatment is more successful and there's a good chance of recovery.
Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early. It uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they're too small to see or feel.
As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged 50 to 70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every 3 years.
Cancer Support organisations
You can find local and national cancer support organisations by searching our community directory.
Macmillan Cancer information and support
Macmillan is a charity that helps support people and their families who are affected by cancer by offering them support financially and emotionally.
They hold many fundraising events, campaigning events and have plenty of opportunities for people to volunteer. The Macmillan cancer information service at the Queen’s Centre provides a drop-in service for anyone affected by cancer, whether a patient, relative, friend or anyone else.
Alternatively you can contact them by telephone on 01482 461 154 or 01482 875 875 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)
Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist Team (Hull)
The Macmillan team consists of qualified Senior Nurses who have clinical and specialist experience and knowledge of palliative and end of life care.
The team work closely with other professionals to ensure the best possible care is delivered to patients and their careers. The Nurses are based within localities and are based at:
- East – Longhill Health Centre
- North – Bransholme Health Centre
- West – Elliott Chappell Health Centre
The service is available 7 days a week including bank holidays 9am to 5pm by contacting CHCP Single Point of Access for Specialist Palliative Care Services by telephone on 01482 335 883. You must be 18 or over and registered with a Hull GP.
Macmillan volunteers provide an extra person to talk to, face to face or by telephone. They are people who have the time to listen and provide support, either as a one-off or on an ongoing basis, dependant on the person’s needs and desires. Support is usually at least two to three hours support a week for 12 weeks.
Macmillan volunteers offer -
- general support for patients and carers
- dementia Support
- immediate and Longer Term Bereavement Support
- visit patients and carers in their own homes or contact by telephone to chat with them and check on their health and well being.
- provide some practical support with daily living as required, such as running errands, transporting patients to hospital appointments, gardening or sitting with a patient to allow a carer to go out for a break.
- provide practical support immediately after a bereavement.
- reducing social isolation and show people that someone cares about them.
- the chance to talk about their needs.
- emotional support through listening, questioning and making suggestions
- practical support to help them to remain living in their own homes.
- information about events and activities happening in the community which may be of interest to them.
Volunteers are available 7 days a week, including bank holidays from 9am to 5pm and can also provide support out of hours if needed.
Referrals for volunteer support can be taken from any health, social or medical professional, as well as from carers and patients. Referrals can be made on by telephnoe on. 01482 335 883. You must be over 18 and live and be registered with a Hull GP to use this service.