World Cancer Day 2020: People in Newham urged to know the signs to combat cancer

The NHS is encouraging residents to know the signs to combat cancer. Picture: Anthony Devlin / PA.

The NHS is encouraging residents to know the signs to combat cancer. Picture: Anthony Devlin / PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

People in Newham are being encouraged to act now in the fight against cancer by visiting their GP without delay if they are concerned about changes in their health.

On World Cancer Day, February 4, the message from the NHS is that knowing the signs of the disease and acting promptly could help save your life.

Latest NHS figures showed that around 890 people in Newham are diagnosed with cancer each year but only 51.8 per cent of these cases are detected at an early stage.

When a cancer is diagnosed and treated at an early stage the chance of survival beyond five years is far higher than at a later stage when the disease has spread.

The NHS emphasises it is important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body, such as the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in your urine, or a change to your usual bowel habits.

Dr Helen Stedeford, a GP and cancer lead for NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "Cancer survival has greatly improved over the past 40 years; now half of people with cancer are still alive 10 years after they were diagnosed, either because the cancer has been cured or is under control with treatment.

"However, the chance of having a good outcome like this is much higher if the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, so we want to encourage people to visit their GP if they have noticed a change in their body that is persisting more than 3-4 weeks."

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As well as recognising symptoms and responding to screening invitations, living a healthy lifestyle can lower the risk of developing cancer.

Four in 10 cancer cases can be prevented through healthier lifestyle choices such as stopping smoking - 18pc of people in Newham still smoke. Other positive choices include keeping a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol and eating a high fibre diet.

Dr Stedeford added: "Don't worry about wasting your GP's time, that's what we're at work to do. The likelihood is that the symptom is more likely to be due to a less serious condition, but GPs can help with those too, as well as arranging tests or follow up if needed."