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One in two people born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime (Cancer Research UK). This risk increases with age, but thankfully today many people will be cured, or go on to live a long time with treatment controlling the condition.

Almost half of cancers are diagnosed at a late stage in England (2014).

The following information aims to provide information to help you:

  • reduce your chance of developing cancer and
  • recognise signs of cancer to make sure you get treatment as early as possible.


What is cancer?

Cancer is a condition where cells in an area of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue. This Cancer Research UK webpage provides further information.


Can I prevent cancer?

Yes, in many cases you can. Experts estimate that more than 4 in 10 cancer cases could be prevented.  Making simple changes to your lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer. For example:

As well as the above links, the Change4Life website has lots of useful tips on being active and eating well for you and your family.


What cancer screening is available?

There are three types of cancer screening for adults in England:

  • Breast
  • Bowel
  • Cervical

Details can be found on the NHS website.

Cancer screening can save lives by finding cancers at an early stage.

Screening tests are for people without symptoms. If you have symptoms, but have had a normal screening test result, you should still see your doctor.


What cancer vaccination is available?

There is currently only one vaccine available to prevent cancer. This is routinely offered to girls aged 12 to 13 years as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme to prevent HPV (human papilloma virus), a cause of cervical cancer in women.

Note: It is important that girls who receive the HPV vaccine also have regular cervical screening once they reach the age of 25.

Find out more about the HPV vaccine.


How do I spot the signs of cancer?

Spotting cancer early means treatment is more likely to be successful.

Macmillan Cancer Support provides information about some of the common symptoms of cancer. Additional information on signs and symptoms can be found on the Be Clear on Cancer website.

You know yourself best. If you notice anything that isn’t normal for your body, go and see your doctor.  Encourage your loved ones to do the same.


What will happen if my GP suspects I have cancer?

Your GP should refer you urgently to a hospital specialist if he/she suspects that you may have cancer.

You should then be seen within 2 weeks of this referral being received by the hospital. 

This Cancer Research UK leaflet will help you prepare for your appointment.


What cancer treatment will I have?

In cases where cancer has been confirmed, you should start treatment within 31 days from when the hospital specialist has decided that you require treatment.

Surgery is a common treatment for most types of cancer, as solid tumours can often be surgically removed.

Other commonly used treatments include chemotherapy (cancer killing medication) and radiotherapy (the controlled use of high energy X-rays).

For the local population living in Guildford and Waverley, St Luke's Cancer Centre provides most hospital cancer care in one location.


How can I get help to live as well as possible after a cancer diagnosis?

Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer mean that more people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis, but not everyone is living well.

Macmillan’s I've Finished Treatment webpage provides lots of advice on coping with life after cancer, and getting support.

Ask your key worker about health and wellbeing events being run locally.


What is Guildford & Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) doing to improve outcomes and survival rates for cancer patients?

In 2017, the CCG received recognition from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer as 1 of 20 CCGs which have most improved their one year cancer survival rates. However, we are not complacent.

The CCG is working with our partners to make improvements in the important areas of prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and care, and living with and beyond cancer.

We have a vision for cancer care that we are working hard to achieve. We want:

  • people to be empowered to reduce their lifetime risk of developing cancer and have greater awareness of how to prevent getting cancer in the first place
  • people to be diagnosed with cancer as early as possible by ensuring that they:
    • can easily access effective screening programmes
    • are referred urgently and
    • undergo appropriate investigations
  • people with cancer to receive excellent, co-ordinated treatment where best research evidence, clinical expertise and patient and carer values are integrated
  • people living with and beyond the diagnosis of cancer to receive education and on-going support to improve their well-being and help them achieve the best possible quality of life.


Local support services

The Fountain Centre is a charity for cancer patients, their families and carers located in the St Luke’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford. They offer advice, counselling and a huge range of complementary therapies.

Macmillan Welfare Rights Service at Citizens Advice Guildford provides free, impartial and confidential welfare benefits advice, information and advocacy to local patients and families that have been affected by cancer.


Page updated:15 January 2018
Next review due:14 July 2018
Model Publication Scheme:Class 9: The services we commission
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