Tag Archives: Cancer

All right down there?

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening programme offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60-74 (or 50-74 in Scotland) who are registered with a GP. If you are eligible you will automatically receive a test kit in the post with instructions.

A bowel cancer cell

The screening is for healthy people with no apparent signs of the disease. The test actually looks for traces of blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of cancer. So a positive doesn’t mean you definitely have cancer.

If bowel cancer is diagnosed at an early stage there is a good chance it can be successfully treated. The statistics show that 9 out of ten people survive their cancer for five years or more if it is diagnosed early.

Collecting a sample of your poo might not be your idea of good fun, and it is your choice whether to take part in the programme, but might just nip something rather unpleasant in the bud.

You can find out more about bowel screening on the Cancer Research website at cruk.org/bowelscreening


Make the link between alcohol and cancer

Almost 90 per cent of people in England still don’t associate drinking alcohol with an increased risk of cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.

Alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of cancer

Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of seven different cancers – liver, breast, bowel, mouth, throat, oesophageal and laryngeal – but when people were asked: “Which, if any, health conditions do you think can result from drinking too much alcohol?” only 13 per cent mentioned cancer.

The survey also highlighted a lack of understanding of the link between drinking alcohol and the risk of developing certain types of cancer. While, when prompted, 80 per cent said they thought alcohol caused liver cancer, only 18 per cent were aware of the link with breast cancer. In fact alcohol causes 3,200 breast cancer cases each year compared to only 400 cases of liver cancer.

The new alcohol guidelines which came out in January make clear that there is no level of drinking which can be considered ‘safe’ from risks. So be sensible!

NHS 100,000 Genomes project takes another step…

It may be hard to imagine our beleaguered NHS as a ‘world leader’ in anything, but it is… The revolutionary 100,000 Genomes Project, launched in 2012, could transform diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer and rare diseases and drive forward improvements in the emerging field of genomic medicine.

DNA: the future of medicine

There are now 13 NHS Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs) across the country. Around 70,000 people will be involved in the Project, which includes some patients with cancer and rare diseases. They will enable scientists to learn more about specific conditions, identifying potential genetic causes and transforming the way diagnosis and treatment can take place in the future.

After patient DNA samples are collected, they are sent securely to be sequenced. Genomics England then analyses the data. Results will be sent back to the NHS for clinical action. The number of whole genomes sequenced to date is published each month on the Genomics England website.

This is the way medicine is heading in the 21st century!

New mole screening service launched at our Charter Pharmacy

Due to an increase in skin cancer and a lack of public awareness we now offer a private mole screening service at our Charter Pharmacy. Details can be found by downloading the PDF below:

Details: Mole screening service

Is this mole a melanoma? Our new screening service can tell you.




Men’s health in focus

Men’s Health Week recently took place Since men are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol to hazardous levels and be overweight or obese the focus is on leading a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy dad

The sad fact is that one in five men don’t make it to retirement age. The biggest single cause of death in men is cancer, and 75% of premature deaths from coronary heart disease among men.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital for avoiding these sorts of diseases, yet men are more likely than women to smoke and drink alcohol at hazardous levels. Over 65% of men are overweight or obese. Participation in activity amongst men declines with age: 83% of men aged 16-24 met the recommendations for physical activity, compared with 57% aged 65-74.

Think about this next time you grumble about the failing NHS. Are you part of the problem?


A sun tan can come with skin cancer

Sun Awareness Week, promoted by the British Association of Dermatologists (with a web address you couldn’t better – www.bad.org.uk) took place in May, a sure sign that summer is here.

Skin cancer

To drum up publicity for the event BAD is promising that a major new study would reveal ‘shock findings into Britain’s attitudes towards skin cancer’. All very dramatic, but a good reminder that there are more consequences from over-exposure to sunshine than the red tingly pain of sunburn (not forgetting the suntan).

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer and is caused by too much exposure to UV light. It can occur on any part of the body, but is occurs most often on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Possible signs to look out for include a scab or sore that won’t heal or a flesh coloured pearly lump that won’t go away.

Prevention is better than cure, so head down to your nearest pharmacy to get some factor 30 – and keep your t-shirt on!

Time to ‘slip slop slap’

‘Slip slop slap’ has entered the national lexicon as a reminder to use a sunscreen when outdoors during the summer. The original campaign using the phrase was launched in Australia in 1981 (you can watch the original TV clip with Sid the Seagull here).

Skin cancer

Sunscreens – and there are a wide variety available from the pharmacy – help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of UV – UVA and UVB – damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are linked to the ageing effects of sunshine

The sun protection factor (SPF) in a sunscreen is a measure of the protection you get from UVB. You should always use a product with SPF15 or higher. If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening for 15 times longer — about five hours.

But in real life no sunscreen, regardless of strength, will stay effective for more than two hours without reapplication. Also, reddening of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage you may be getting. So slip, slop, slap!

One in two people will be diagnosed with cancer

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, according to a new forecast by Cancer Research UK. This estimate replaces previous figures which predicted that more than one in three people would develop a cancer at some point.

There is a lot you can do to make it less likely you get cancer

The shift is because we are all living longer and cancer is primarily a disease of old age – more than 65% of cancers are diagnosed in people over 65. With longer life expectancy the number of diagnosed cases of cancer is expected to rise.

The good news is that cancer survival rates have more than doubled over the past 40 years, and around half of patients now survive the disease for more than 10 years – although this can depend on the type of cancer.

There is a lot you can do to make it less likely you get cancer, like giving up smoking, being more active, drinking less alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight. As is often the case, prevention is better than the cure…

Ask your pharmacist about steps you can take to improve your general health.

Two in 3 smokers will die from their habit

If you need any further encouragement to quit smoking, then be advised that a large Australian study of more than 200,000 people has confirmed that up to two in every three smokers will die from their habit if they continue to smoke.


Smokers have around three times higher risk of premature death compared to those who have never smoked, and will die an estimated 10 years earlier than non-smokers, the study showed.

It also found that compared with non-smokers, smoking just 10 cigarettes a day doubles the risk of dying and smoking a pack a day increases the risk four- to five-fold.

So speak to your pharmacist about how to go about quitting, where to go for support and which products are available to help you. You could consider e-cigarettes, but why switch from one addiction to another if you don’t have to?

Focus on ovarian cancer

March was Ovarian Cancer month. The disease is responsible for some 4,300 deaths every year in the UK, making survival rates here among the worst in Europe.


Each year there are 7,000 new cases and by the time three quarters of these are diagnosed the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult. So what should you look out for?

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are frequent (they usually happen more than 12 times a month) and persistent, and include:

• Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
• Difficulty eating/feeling full
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Needing to wee more urgently or more often

Other symptoms can include unexpected weight loss, change in bowel habits, and extreme fatigue. If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, which are not normal for you, it is important that you see your GP and get checked out.

GPs are now instructed to carry out tests in women especially over the age of 50, if they experience any of the above symptoms on a persistent or frequent basis

Find out more at http://ocam.org.uk/