1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime, I don’t think I know one person who hasn’t been affected by cancer whether they have had it personally or have known someone to have it. Did you know there are over 200 different types of cancer?
Cancer doesn’t think or feel, and it can affect anyone and everyone.
There are some things we can do to reduce our risk of cancer, for information visit Cancer Research UK. But it is still possible to get cancer these factors help to reduce your risk, it does not guarantee you will be cancer free.
In the UK we are lucky enough to have three NHS screening programmes that pick up on cancer or find abnormalities before they turn cancerous. The screening services are:
Breast Screening (mammograms)
- Women first invited aged 50 until 71 but Leeds are trialling women aged 47.
- Every three years.
- Those who are over screening age can request an appointment.
Leeds and Wakefield Breast Screening 0113 206 3771
Cervical Screening (smear test)
- For women and anyone with a cervix aged between 25-64
- Looks for cell abnormalities in the cervix
- Every 3 years (25-49) but increases to every 5 years (50-64)
- This screening is carried out at your GP practice.
Bowel screening (FIT kit)
- Kit sent automatically in the post every 2 years. But you must be registered with a GP.
- For everyone aged 60-74, being extended to 75.
- Requires a sample of poo and then to send it to a laboratory in a prepaid envelope.
- Completed in the comfort of your own home.
- Older can request own kit.
- Not checking for cancer but any abnormalities i.e. polyps.
To request a kit call 0800 707 6060
Unfortunately, due to funding the screening is aimed at the most at risk age groups. But regardless of age if you notice any unusual changes to your body, speak to your GP.
I think we all hope/think ‘I will never get it’ but unfortunately no one is invincible or immune, and anyone can get cancer.
Although we have these great services in the UK not everyone takes part in the screening. In Leeds the number of people attending screening is below the national average, which can lead to more members of the public being diagnosed with cancer at a later stage.
We understand that there is a whole host of reasons why people choose not to attend screening, but we aim to increase screening attendance leading to a reduction in the number of people with undetected cancer or even dying of cancer.
Screening finds cancer at an early stage and can even prevent cancer from developing. Cancer screening saves lives, it is your choice to attend or not to attend screening.
This country is great at treating cancer but less successful at detecting cancer early, as people with symptoms may not speak to their GP straight away.
In 2009 there was an increase in the number of cervical screening attendance. This is likely due to the ‘Jade Goody effect’, Jade Goody was a reality TV star who tragically died aged 27 of cervical cancer. Her death encouraged people to attend their smear test this is a great legacy, but it is a shame that it takes a death of a celebrity to encourage people to attend their screening appointments.
To read more about the ‘Jade effect’ visit Cancer Research UK.
The number of women and people with a cervix attending cervical screening is falling, in fact screening attendance is at a 21 year low in England. 1 in 4 are not attending when invited.
In Leeds cervical screening attendance is 72.2% this is below the national target of 80%.
More and more celebrities are coming forward with their cancer stories.
Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding aged 38 announced her advanced breast cancer.
In Leeds breast screening attendance is 72.4% which is below the national target of 80%.
In recent news Chadwick Boseman famous for his role as the Black Panther in the Marvel Universe died aged 43 of bowel cancer.
In Leeds bowel screening attendance is 65.5% which is higher than the national target of 60%.
I hope that with celebrities helping to raise cancer awareness more people will attend their screening appointments.
To help raise awareness Leeds Cancer Awareness Project will publish Facebook and Twitter posts with information from celebrities that have shared their stories. We will also be encouraging members of the public to share their stories.
This is at the same time as celebs with cancer back NHS call for people with symptoms to get checked, visit NHS.
Here we launch the ‘anyone can get cancer campaign’.
If you have a story you would like to share/feature on our social media platforms or write a blog, get in touch.
We want more people to get talking about cancer, lets reduce the stigma together.
Early detection saves lives.
To find out about all NHS screening services available visit NHS.
For information and cancer support visit Macmillan.