Knowing the signs of cancer could save your life

Cancer is a disease of our cells, where they have become abnormal. These cancer cells divide uncontrollably to make more and more abnormal cells; they invade and destroy healthy tissues surrounding them, including organs. Learn more about cancer on the NHS website.

Your risk of developing cancer can depend on your age, genetics and your lifestyle but it is believed that around 40% of cancers are preventable. Finding cancer early means it is easier to treat. Learn more about signs and symptoms of cancer on the NHS website.

If you notice any possible cancer symptoms or any changes that are unusual for you, although it is unlikely to be cancer, it’s important to speak to a GP so they can investigate.

Cancer Screening

Cancer screening is a way to pick up abnormal changes early. Doing this can help prevent cancer occurring or detect it at an early stage.

Screening is offered to the people who are most at risk of developing particular types of cancer. There are three national cancer screening programs in England:

It is important that if you are invited for screening, you attend your appointment – or for bowel screening, carry out the test at home. Find out more about screening.

Reduce your Risk

By becoming more cancer aware, you can reduce your risk of cancer.

Lifestyle choices can help you stay healthier and reduce your risk of developing diseases such as cancer, such as by maintaining a healthy weightstopping smoking and drinking less.

Cancel Out Cancer are free one-hour cancer awareness sessions led by volunteers, and anyone living in Hertfordshire and west Essex is invited to join. The programme provides information about the signs and symptoms of cancer, advice on lifestyle changes to reduce your risk and screening. Find out more about Cancel Out Cancer.

Cancer Support Services

Having a diagnosis of cancer can be an extremely difficult and worrying time.

Find out more about organisations that can offer information and support for anyone affected by cancer.

The local NHS initiative One Step at a Time shares experiences of cancer journeys from the perspective of patients and their loved ones. Find out more about One Step at a Time.

Cancel out Cancer

Cancel out Cancer is a campaign led by local volunteers to help improve people’s awareness and understanding of cancer, encouraging everyone to act in improving their health.

Developed with NHS patient representatives living in east and north Hertfordshire and championed by Macmillan Cancer Support, one 60-minute free session online covers cancer screening, symptoms, and prevention.

The sessions are run by dedicated volunteers, and during the past year alone they helped more than 200 people:

  • get a better understanding of how important screening is – more than 60% of cancers diagnosed through screening are picked up at an earlier stage, where the chance of recovery is higher
  • know the different symptoms to be aware of
  • learn to reduce their risk by taking practical steps like changing diet and stopping smoking.

Interested in joining a free 60-minute session

On the second Monday of every month at 6pm, the Cancel Out Cancer volunteers host an online session over Zoom, open to the public. Visit Eventbrite to sign up, or email the Engagement team.

Face to face sessions have been running again since Autumn 2022, with the hope to help even more people benefit from these sessions. These sessions would suit people who are able to get to a venue, and who do not have access to a computer or the internet. Please spread the word!

To enquire about a session for your community group or organisation, just email the Engagement team to find out about any upcoming opportunities to join a session or arrange one for your group or organisation.

Play your part and Cancel out Cancer

You can also learn how to become a Cancel Out Cancer presenter – no previous experience is required. The team will provide you with a minimum of three training sessions and ongoing support, giving you all the tools and materials to take the awareness sessions out into the community.