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What is Cancer?

Cancer is a condition in which cells in a part of the body grow and multiply in an uncontrolled way. This growth can cause a lump called a tumour to form. Cancerous cells can invade and damage surrounding healthy tissue. There are over 200 different types of cancer each with its own symptoms and forms of treatment. More than 1 in 3 people will get some type of cancer during their lifetime.

Signs and symptoms

Changes to your body's normal processes or unusual, unexplained symptoms can sometimes be an early sign of cancer.
Potential signs and symptoms include:

  • A lump that suddenly appears on the body.
  • Unexplained bleeding.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Changes to your bowel habits.

Reducing your risk

There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer:

  • Exercising regularly.
  • Eating a balanced diet.
  • Giving up smoking.  
  • Reducing alcohol consumption.
  • Protecting your skin from sun damage.

Help and support

If you are worried that you might have cancer or are concerned about any symptoms you are experiencing, it is important to speak to your GP. Cancer can be serious but nowadays many cancers are treated successfully, particularly when diagnosed early.   Different treatments are used for different cancers but common treatments include surgery, radiotherapy (using high energy rays to destroy cancer cells) and chemotherapy (using specialised drugs to destroy cancer cells).

Useful contacts

Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support prove practical, emotional and financial help to people affected by cancer.

Telephone: 0808 808 00 00 or visit

Cancer Research
CancerHelp UK is the patient information website of Cancer Research UK. The site contains information about cancer, from symptoms, diagnosis and treatment to research and coping with cancer.

Telephone: 0808 800 4040 or visit

Marie Curie Cancer Care
Marie Curie Cancer Care gives people with all terminal illnesses the choice to die at home. Their nurses provide them and their families with free hands-on care and emotional support, in their homes, right until the end.
Telephone: 0800 716 146 or visit

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