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Talk cancer, remove the stigma say Newham GPs

14:46 03 February 2014

Dr Zuhair Zarifa wants people across the borough to start talking about cancer

Dr Zuhair Zarifa wants people across the borough to start talking about cancer

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Doctors across Newham want the borough’s residents to talk about cancer in a bid to tackle negative attitudes surrounding the disease.

The message coincides with World Cancer Day 2014 which takes place tomorrow, February 4. The international campaign is designed to get people talking about cancer, helping to remove negative attitudes and stigma around the disease and encourage people to get help early. It also highlights the things that you can do to help prevent against cancer.

Dr Zuhair Zarifa, a local GP and chair of NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “There are no guaranteed ways to prevent cancer, but leading a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the risk of developing the disease. That’s why it’s so important that people look at making some small changes to their health sooner rather than later.

“It’s also important to know your body well, so that you can recognise any changes or symptoms and get advice or medical treatment early.

“Any unusual bleeding, lumps or changes in bowel habit can be a sign of an underlying problem. If you’re experiencing unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness or persistent episodes of coughing or breathlessness, you should also make an appointment to see your local GP.

“Seeing your GP early - as soon as you notice symptoms - and getting an early diagnosis could help to save your life.”

In the UK, more than one in three people will develop cancer at some point in their lives, and around 309,500 people are diagnosed with the disease every year. However, it’s estimated that almost half of all cancer cases could be prevented by making some simple lifestyle changes.

Smoking causes over 80 per cent of lung cancer cases in the UK. It also accounts for around 22 per cent of all cancer deaths. If you’re looking to stop smoking, talk to your local GP or pharmacist for free advice. The NHS Stop Smoking Service can also offer support to help you quit and can be reached on 0300 123 1014.

Another way to reduce the risk of developing cancer is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This includes eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. You should also aim to cut down on the amount of fat, sugar and salt in your diet and to eat smaller and fewer portions of red and processed meat.

Eating well and staying healthy is vitally important and can help to greatly increase your chances of survival if you are diagnosed with cancer. Limiting your exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun, cutting down on your alcohol intake and making an effort to get more active can also help to cut your cancer risk.

For more information, go to the NHS Choices website.

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