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Taking care of your heart and cancer screening


Nearly one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. Advances in treatment mean that more people are surviving cancer. However, even for those considered cured, it can be difficult to get back to normal. If you or someone you know is living with cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support provides free advice and support.

There are many causes of cancer, including genetic, environmental and lifestyle. You can reduce your risk of developing some cancers by moving more, eating well, being a healthy weight, cutting back on alcohol and quitting smoking. These also help us to prevent and manage other long-term conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Making a change can be hard our support services are here to help you.

Some cancers can be picked up early through screening. 

Cancer screening

Cancer screening looks for early signs of cancer in people who don’t have any symptoms yet. By spotting cancer at an earlier stage, treatments can be provided to people when they are more likely to be successful. 

There are three types of cancer screening for adults in England, and they save thousands of lives each year. It is strongly recommended that you attend screening when invited. If you notice any signs of cancer, please do not wait to be invited to a screening appointment - contact your GP straight away.

Cervical cancer and screening in Southwark

Cervical cancer develops in a woman's cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina). It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45. Cancer of the cervix often has no symptoms in its early stages, so screening is really important.

If you are a women, you should be invited to be screened for cervical cancer every 3 years between the ages of 25 and 49; and every 5 years when you are aged 50 to 64. If you have a cervix but do not identify as a woman, you should still attend screening.

If you receive an invitation letter for cervical cancer screening, schedule an appointment by calling the number provided in the invitation. If you haven’t received an invitation letter but are due for screening, contact your local GP.

Your GP has safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

You can find out further information and support on cervical cancer screening from the NHS.

Breast cancer and screening in Southwark

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.

If you are a women aged 50 to 70, you should be invited to be screened for breast cancer every 3 years. 

If you receive an invitation letter for breast cancer screening from the NHS, schedule an appointment by calling the telephone number provided in the letter.

Safety measures have been put in place at all Breast Screening sites in South East London to ensure appointments are safe to attend. You can find more information about breast screening and COVID-19 from London Breast Screening service.

You can find more information on breast cancer screening and what to expect on NHS Choices.

You should also check your own breasts regularly to know what is normal for you. If you notice any changes or have any concerns, please contact your local GP. For more information about what to look out for, visit Breast Cancer Now

Bowel cancer and screening in Southwark

Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK. Most people diagnosed with it are over the age of 60.

Invitations for bowel cancer screening are now being sent to adults between 60 to 74 years old to do a home testing kit (invitations are sent every 2 years).

The potential signs of bowel cancer include include:

  • a persistent change in bowel habit - pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain.
  • blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) 
  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating - sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss.

Please see your GP if you have any symptoms of bowel cancer, and they persist for more than 4 weeks.

You can also find more information on bowel cancer screening and what to expect on NHS Choices.

Page last updated: 08 January 2021

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