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Make sure your body is ready for the summer on the inside as well as the outside

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by Cancer Research UK | News

23 March 2007

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As summer approaches, millions of women around the UK will be preparing their bodies for summer clothes with healthy eating, exercise and trips to the salon. But will they be paying as much attention to checking for signs of what is happening on the inside?

This summer, Cancer Research UK is launching a new leaflet, ‘Wish you knew the signs of cancer?’ The leaflet is designed to give women information about some of the most common signs and symptoms of cancer, and encourage anyone experiencing them to visit their doctor. While these symptoms will usually turn out to be due to something else, if it is cancer, finding it early will offer the best chance of successful treatment.

Sara Hiom, deputy director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Today, more people than ever are surviving cancer. This is thanks in part to early detection.

“When cancer is found early, it’s easier to treat and many people can be cured. That’s why it’s so important to know what’s normal for your body and to look out for any changes. While cancer is primarily a disease that affects older people, if you do notice anything unusual, you should see your doctor, whatever age you are.”

Symptoms outlined in the leaflet include:

  • A cough or croaky voice that lasts longer than three weeks
  • Difficulty swallowing or persistent indigestion
  • A mouth or tongue ulcer that lasts longer than three weeks
  • An unusual lump or swelling anywhere on your body
  • An unusual breast change
  • A sore that won’t heal after several weeks
  • A change in size, shape or colour of a mole
  • Problems passing urine
  • Blood in your urine
  • Blood in your bowel motions
  • A change to more frequent bowel motions that lasts longer than six weeks
  • Bleeding from the vagina after the menopause or between periods
  • Unexplained weight loss or heavy night sweats
  • An unexplained pain or ache that lasts longer than four weeks.

Lindsey O’Reilly, 44, from Wiltshire, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. Lindsey said: “I was shocked when I found a lump in my breast, but fortunately I didn’t waste any time in visiting my doctor. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I’m now fit and well.

“A leaflet highlighting what to look out for is a great idea, and I’d advise anyone who’s noticed a sign or symptom that could indicate cancer to do exactly what I did – see your doctor straight away. Don’t be worried you’re wasting their time – if it’s cancer it’s not going to go away on its own.”

Two versions of ‘Wish you knew the signs of cancer?’, one for women and one for men, will be available free of charge from May. You can order online at the Reduce the Risk homepage or by calling 020 7061 8333.

For more information visit Reduce the Risk.


For media enquiries, case study interviews or copies of the leaflet, please contact Lisa Flanagan or Anna Hilton on 020 7061 8308 / 8314 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.