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2nd February 2018

People in Milton Keynes are being encouraged to make pledges to take action against cancer as part of a worldwide awareness event. NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is backing World Cancer Day on 4 February 2018 which aims to encourage everyone to take action to reduce the impact of cancer on individuals, families and communities.

The tagline ‘We can. I can’, amplifies how everyone can make a difference. Physical activity has been shown to combat cancer, including: prevention, helping cancer patients manage the side-effects of treatment - such as fatigue, depression and heart damage -, and reducing the risk of the disease worsening or recurring.

Changes in the way we live mean that more and more people are exposed to cancer risk factors like smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity.

Smoking is still the biggest cancer risk factor, linked to an estimated 86% of lung cancer cases in the UK. That means nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancer cases are caused by smoking.  89% (91% in males and 87% in females) of lung cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors*. Alcohol drinking is associated with increased risk of several cancers, including mouth and throat cancer, oesophageal, bowel, liver, and breast cancers.

Dr Nicola Smith, a local GP and Chair at NHS Milton Keynes CCG, said:

“This World Cancer Day, we're encouraging everyone to be more active - in every sense -

in the fight against cancer. One of the things people can do is to take up their NHS cancer screening invitations. There are three types of cancer screening for adults in England and they save thousands of lives each year, these are; breast cancer screening, bowel cancer screening and cervical screening (smear tests for women).

“Screening looks for early signs that could indicate cancer is developing. It helps to spot cancers at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to be successful and chances of survival are much better. In some instances, it can prevent cancers from developing at all when early changes are picked up; cervical screening (smear test) is an example of this.

“People can take action now to reduce their cancer risk by avoiding tobacco, drinking sensibly, eating a balanced diet and taking exercise. Extra fat in the body can have harmful effects, like producing hormones and growth factors that affect the way our cells work. This can raise the risk of several diseases, including cancer.

“For a person living with cancer, strong emotional support and loving relationships with partners, friends and families can make a big difference in their life. Support groups can provide a caring environment for people living with cancer sufferers to express their feelings and reduce their anxiety and fear as well as to share information about treatment options and their side effects.”