Mllions of people are living with cancer in the UK, but the survival rate can be high if it is spotted early. Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the UK, and over 2.5 million people are currently living with some form of the disease.
But as new treatments are developed and campaigns, such as Race for Life and Movemember, raise awareness of symptoms, the deaths caused by cancer have dropped. In the past decade alone there has been a 10 per cent decrease in death rates, BBC News reported.
And while cancers can be caused by genetics and environmental factors that are out of our control, 30 per cent of cancers worldwide could be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle and being immunized against viruses such as HPV and HBV, according to the World Health Organisation.
Below are the symptoms of the most common types of cancer in the UK.
One of the most serious forms of the disease, around 44,500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. The chance of survival is 5 per cent, and around 35,000 people will die of the disease each year. However, 89 per cent of cases are preventable.
There are two forms of primary lung cancer: the term used to describe the disease when it has not spread to other parts of the body.
More than 80 per cent of cases are non-small-cell lung cancer, which fall into the categories of squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma or large-cell carcinoma. Each of these forms attack different areas of the lung.
Small-cell lung, or oat-cell, cancer is rarer, but is more aggressive than non-small-cell. The vast majority of patients with oat-cell cancer are smokers, according to Cancer Research UK.
Symptoms: Feeling breathless and having a persistent cough, as well as an aching or feeling pain when breathing or coughing are all symptoms of lung cancer. Coughing up blood or rust-coloured spit or phlegm, as well as repeatedly having infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia are signs, too.
Sudden and unexplained tiredness and weight loss can also be caused by the disease.
Public Health England in 2013 launched a campaign urging people not to ignore persistent coughs, as almost 24,000 people a year in England are diagnosed with the disease at the earliest stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.
Also known as colon or rectal cancer, bowel cancer affects around one in 20 people in the UK, with around 41,000 people diagnosed with it each year. Over 16,000 of those patients will die of the disease. It has a survival rate of 57 per cent, and can be prevented in 54 per cent of cases.
It is most common in the over 60s; those with a diet low in fibre and high in red and processed meat; the overweight; and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Drinking and smoking can also heighten the risk, as well as a family history of the condition.
Symptoms: Bowel cancer can be easily mistaken for other illnesses because the signs are common in many conditions.
Blood in your stools and pain in the abdomen can be caused by bowel cancer. Changes in bowel movements – such as constipation or diarrhea – that last for more than a few days are also linked to the disease.
But these are also common in people with haemorrhoids or those whose eating habits have changed, according to the NHS. In the latest stages, weight loss, pain when eating and bloating become evident.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, but lung cancer is the deadliest according to Cancer Research UK. The majority of people who get breast cancer are women over the age of 65, however younger women and men can also develop the disease.
Each year, over 53,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed, but it has a survival rate of 78 per cent, meaning it causes over 11,000 deaths annually. It can be prevented in 27 per cent of cases.
Symptoms: Many people know that breast cancer is signaled by unusual lumps and thickening in the breast, but campaigners have urged that are other warnings signs that are unknown.
The charity Breast Cancer Care is among organisations to urge the public to be wary of all the symptoms of the disease. A change in the size, shape or skin on the breast; swelling in the armpit; and constant pain in the area can signal breast cancer. However, the nipples can also be affected. Redness, a rash or discharge coming from the nipple are all signs of the disease.
While lumps in the breast generally aren’t cancerous, the NHS urges people to visit their GP if they notice anything unusual.
This form of cancer only affects men, because it is found in the satsuma-sized prostate gland located between the penis and the bladder. Over 47,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year. But it has a high survival rate of 84 per cent. Almost 11,000 people die of the disease each year. There are no clear ways of preventing prostate cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.
Symptoms: In the early stages, prostate cancer does not cause any symptoms for many years, meaning it is usually caught when it is developed.
The condition is usually picked up when the gland becomes so large that it affects the function of the urethra and makes passing urine more frequent, slower and weaker.
Blood in the urine and erectile dysfunction are also signs. If the cancer pushes against the spinal cord, weakness or numbness in the legs or feet and the loss of bladder and bowel control can also occur.
However, difficulty passing urine can also be a sign of a common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, where the inner part of the prostate continues to grow as men get older.
Source: Cancer Research UK