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Cancer / Oncology

Cancer is a condition that causes cells to grow and reproduce uncontrollably. This will affect a certain area of the body and, if untreated, can spread to other areas. This cell growth causes damage to healthy tissue in the body, including vital organs. 

According to the NHS, more than one in three people will develop a form of cancer in their lifetime. In the UK, the most common types of cancer are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. Each type of cancer will have different symptoms and treatment options. 

Signs of cancer

There are many different reasons why someone may develop cancer, from genetic factors to lifestyle. Being aware of any unusual changes to your body and its processes is key. The following signs should be addressed by a doctor:

  • a lump that appears on your body

  • unexplained bleeding

  • changes to your bowel habits

These signs may well be linked to something non-cancerous, but are worth discussing with your doctor. There are also medical screenings that can help to check for signs of cancer, for example, cervical screenings for women. Be sure to keep up with these appointments and talk through any concerns you may have with your doctor.

Cancer treatment

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, your doctor will talk you through the recommended treatment. This will depend on the type of cancer you have and the severity of it. For many people, surgery to remove tumours is the first port of call.

Two other treatments that are commonly recommended are chemotherapy, which is a powerful medication, and radiotherapy, which uses high-energy x-rays. The aim of cancer treatment is to stop the spread of cancer and shrink/remove cancerous cells in the body.

The link between diet and cancer

As many of us know, what we eat has a big impact on our overall health and well-being. Research has shown that some foods are directly linked to cancer, however, overall diet is considered more important than individual foods. 

Having a varied and balanced diet is the best way to maintain health. Cancer charity, Cancer Research UK, recommends enjoying a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins such as chicken, fish or pulses. They advise reducing your intake of processed and red meat, high-calorie foods, sugary drinks and alcohol.

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