Spot cancer early
Spotting cancer early could help to save your life
Did you know that in the UK, cancer survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years? But we could stop thousands more cancer deaths each year if we improved prevention, early diagnosis and treatment even further.
Diagnosing cancer in its earlier stages often makes treatment more successful, meaning the chances of recovering are much better.
Finding and treating cancer quickly, before it spreads to other parts of the body, can make a big difference.
What can you do to help spot cancer early?
Anyone can develop cancer but it’s more common as we get older - almost 9 out of 10 cases are in people aged 50 or over. There are more than 200 different types of cancer, each with different causes, symptoms and treatments.
Experts have agreed on some of the key signs and symptoms of cancer which you can read about on our key signs and symptoms page.
You can also download the free app on your iPhone. Or if you have an Android smartphone you can search for "Cancer Research UK" or "cancer signs" in the Marketplace. But it’s most important to get to know your own body and what’s normal for you. This will mean you’re more likely to notice any unusual or persistent changes that could be signs of cancer and need to be checked out by your doctor.
Christine, 65, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2005.
“I noticed a change in the shape of my right breast so I went to visit my GP. He suspected it might be cancer so referred me for tests. Within a matter of weeks I was having treatment. I am now back living a full and active life. I feel fitter and healthier than ever before. I go out walking every day and visit the gym three times a week. Spotting cancer early is so important. The sooner you are diagnosed the sooner your treatment can start.”
Know about cancer screening available to you
Cancer screening saves thousands of lives in the UK each year. Cancer screening tests can help detect cancer at an early stage before there are any symptoms, and sometimes also prevent cancer developing in the first place.
There are three national cancer screening programmes in the UK. Bowel screening is available to older men and women. All women over 50 are entitled to breast screening with mammography. Cervical screening (or the smear test) is available to women from their twenties to mid sixties.
Got questions about cancer?
Cancer Research UK can help you to find reliable and easy to understand information.
- Find out about cancer, its treatment and the latest research by visiting CancerHelp UK.
- Ask our cancer nurses questions on any aspect of cancer, freephone and in confidence on 0808 800 4040, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
- Share experiences with others affected by cancer on our discussion forum Cancer Chat.
Join the fight against cancer and enter Race for Life
Cancer, we’re coming to get you. Join in this year’s Race for Life and show cancer who’s boss. Come along and run, walk, dance or sponsor - together we will bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.