March Cancer Awareness

Posted by: jreeveseastwood - Posted on:


Every month the Atherstone Surgery raises awareness of some of the health and wellbeing campaigns running nationally and worldwide. This month we are Focusing on awareness for Ovarian cancer, Prostate cancer and Brain tumour awareness.

We understand that the word cancer can be daunting to many. We want to ensure those who have cancer or have a loved one suffering with cancer get the help and care they need and we want you to know you are not alone.

Cancer awareness is at the forefront of cancer prevention. Cancer screening is the first step. This involves testing apparently healthy people for signs of disease. When cancer is picked up early, treatment is more likely to be successful.

Our Goal is to get more cancers diagnosed at an early stage by raising awareness of key symptoms and encouraging people to discuss them with their doctor without delay.

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. It mainly affects women who have been through menopause but it can sometimes affect younger women.


Ovarian cancer is when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. They eventually form a growth (tumour). If not caught early, cancer cells gradually grow into the surrounding tissues. And may spread to other areas of the body.

Common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

  • Persistent abdominal pain, bloating or swelling
  • Loss of appetite, difficulty eating and feeling full more quickly
  • A change in bladder habits not explained by dietary or lifestyle changes.

Often ovarian cancer symptoms are mistaken for other ailments and causes, as they can be subtle and experienced by women who do not have ovarian cancer. They can be confused with symptoms of other less severe illnesses, especially gastrointestinal complaints (ex IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome), leading to frequent misdiagnosis. Most patients are only identified in the advanced stages of the disease when it becomes more difficult to treat.

Seek medical advice if:

  • You’ve been feeling bloated, especially more than 12 times a month
  • You’ve experienced other symptoms persistently
  • You have a family history of ovarian cancer.

Early diagnosis saves lives. If you’re worried speak to your GP.

The main aim of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is to raise awareness of symptoms and make sure that more women are diagnosed earlier. For more information please visit the following websites where you will find information about the signs, symptoms and fundraising opportunities related to ovarian cancer.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is found at the base of the bladder. It is about the size of a walnut and is part of the male reproductive system.

It is the most common cancer in men in the UK. Some trans women and non-binary people (who are born male) can also get prostate cancer.

Research shows that the sexual side effects from prostate cancer treatment are the most painful and most common; yet less than half of men experiencing issues are directed to clear, practical and helpful resources.

When it comes to prostate cancer, early detection is key. For men, even if it feels far from your radar, it’s important to know that factors such your age and family history of prostate cancer can put you at higher risk of developing the disease.

  • If you’re 45-50 years old, or you know someone edging towards that age group, we encourage you to have a chat to your GP about a PSA test.
  • If your brother or father have experienced prostate cancer, you should check in with your doctor around age 40-45.
  • If you’re Black or of Caribbean descent, you’re at higher risk of developing prostate cancer and should chat with your doctor at age 40-45.

A study by Public Health England published in 2015 showed that one in four Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and one in twelve Black men will die from the disease – figures double that of other men.

Hence Embarrassed, a highly impactful short film was created by Sir Steve McQueen and starring four prominent award-winning Black actors to raise awareness of prostate cancer in the Black community. Embarrassed aims to dispel the myths and stigma around prostate cancer, encouraging Black men to ask their doctors for a PSA blood test while also spreading the message between family and friends: prostate cancer is curable if caught and treated in the very early stages.

To watch this film please click on the link below:

Prostate cancer does not usually cause symptoms in the early stages. Most prostate cancers start in the outer part of the prostate gland. This means that to cause symptoms, the cancer needs to be big enough to press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis.

If prostate cancer has already spread to other parts of the body (advanced or metastatic prostate cancer), it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Back or bone pain that doesn’t go away with rest
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss for no reason

For more information on the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer please check out the leaflet below generated by Cancer Research UK:

If you have concerns please book an appointment to visit your GP. They can do some tests to help them decide whether you need a referral to a specialist. The tests your GP might arrange include:

  • An examination of your prostate gland (digital rectal examination)
  • A prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test

The PSA test measures the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA it’s a protein made by both normal and cancerous prostate cells.

It’s normal for all men to have some PSA in their blood. But a PSA level higher than what would be expected for someone of your age can be a sign of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer, one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, is very treatable if caught early, so it’s vitally important that it is found quickly before the cancer spreads. Research suggests treatment at stages 1 and 2 has a near 100% survival rate compared to around 50% at stage 4.

For more information and sites dedicated to help and support please visit the links below:

If you are interested in supporting the fight against prostate cancer why not check out “March the Month” which is a virtual step challenge for anyone who wants to keep active and help beat prostate cancer. Join thousands of people, across the nation, committing themselves to walk or wheel 11,000 steps a day throughout March. It’s free to sign up and take part and is a challenge everyone can get involved in.

Brain Tumour Awareness

A brain tumour is an abnormal growth of cells in the brain. If any brain cells grow and multiply abnormally to cause a brain tumour, this is called a primary tumour.

If abnormal cells have spread to the brain from a cancerous tumour in another part of the body, this is called a secondary tumour or a metastasis.

There are two types of brain tumour: malignant and benign.

Malignant, or cancerous, tumours often invade surrounding tissue and can spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream or lymphatic system. They can also erode ‘healthy’ tissue, as the cells that make up a malignant tumour share very little in common with the healthy cells that surround them.

Benign, or non-cancerous, tumours tend to grow more slowly and do not spread, although people can have more than one benign tumour. A benign brain tumour can put pressure on the brain as it grows inside the enclosed space of the skull, and this may compress and damage healthy tissue.

For more information on this please see the leaflet below courtesy of the Brain and Spinal Foundation:

See a GP if you have these types of symptoms, particularly if you have a headache that feels different from the type of headache you usually get, or if headaches are getting worse.

You may not have a brain tumour, but these types of symptoms should be checked.

If the GP cannot identify a more likely cause of your symptoms, they may refer you to a doctor who specialises in the brain and nervous system (neurologist) for further assessment and tests, such as a brain scan.

There are several risk factors that may increase your chances of developing a brain tumour.

Risk factors include:

Age – the risk of getting a brain tumour increases with age (most brain tumours happen in older adults aged 85 to 89), although some types of brain tumour are more common in children

Radiation – exposure to radiation  accounts for a very small number of brain tumours; some types of brain tumours are more common in people who have had radiotherapy, CT scans or X-rays of the head

Family history and genetic conditions – some genetic conditions are known to increase the risk of getting a brain tumour, including tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis type 1, neurofibromatosis type 2 and Turner syndrome

For advice on how to reduce the risk of cancer please take a look at the leaflet below generated by Cancer Research UK:

If you would like to know more there is information and support available at the following websites: