Cancer is currently the 2nd leading cause of death worldwide. 9.6 million people die of cancer per year, but out of this number one third is preventable. That’s 3.7 million lives that can be saved. Here at LEAR Health Partners, we are passionate about educating on ways to improve our health and reduce risk of disease. We all have a part to play in our own health and these are the things that you can do to reduce your risk.
In the UK we are lucky to have access to a number or screening services for cancer. One way of picking up early signs of cancer is through attending these screenings. The quicker cancer is dealt with the better it is. If you get an invitation to the cervical screening test, for a mammography or bowel screening – do consider following through on this. They may seem daunting and some people find them embarrassing as it’s dealing with our most intimate and private parts. The thing is, these tests can save our lives through early detection and those who carry out these tests have done many before and will support you through the test.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic some tests have been cancelled and delayed before being rolled out again. If you believe that you were due a test and it hasn’t been rearranged then please contact your GP surgery. If they are still not running in your area, make a note to contact your healthcare provider again in a month's time to make an arrangement.
Girls and boys are now offered the HPV vaccine as part of the national immunisation program. And women can have the HPV vaccine up until the age of 26 if they missed it in childhood. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the leading cause for cervical cancer. Both boys and girls are offered the vaccine as the type of HPV linked to cervical cancer spreads via skin-to-skin contact between the genital areas. As 8 out of 10 people carry HPV it’s important that both boys and girls are vaccinated. There are different types of human papilloma viruses and there is a link between HPV and other sites such as head and neck cancers.
Know the Symptoms
Knowing signs and symptoms of cancer can be helpful in terms of picking up on any new changes. It’s important to know that the below symptoms are not always linked to cancer but if you experience them it’s worth checking up with your GP instead of waiting.
Now this list can feel quite long and scary. But the aim is to be aware of these symptoms and to get them checked out if they do occur. Early detection is essential for a favourable outcome.
There are plenty of things we can do to reduce our risk of cancer when we look at lifestyle factors. The one most people are familiar with is to give up smoking/consumption of tobacco. However, reducing consumption of alcohol and processed meats also helps. Avoiding sun beds and taking care of the sun as well as avoiding pollutants/chemicals as much as possible or using adequate protection. A healthy diet together with more movement is key. In a pandemic where we are being told to stay at home and where most exercise facilities are closed this becomes more difficult. It’s tempting to sit more, eat more and exercise less. However, eating a balanced diet together with exercise will help us stay as healthy as possible.
All the above are relevant to those who already have or have had cancer. Exercise is protective from further development of cancer and reduces risk of mortality. Here at LEAR Health Partners we are qualified to help you to stay active through and after your cancer journey. If you are or have been through Cancer treatment and want advice on how to get active or have any post-treatment complications – please reach out to us.
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