Cancer is a condition where cells in a particular part of the body, begin to grow and reproduce in an uncontrollable way, which invades and destroys surrounding healthy tissue and organs. It sometimes begins in one part of the body, before spreading to other parts, in a process known as metastasis.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer and as 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime, it’s likely that most of us will know someone who has been affected by the condition. In the UK, the four most common types are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer.
Signs and symptoms
Many types of cancer can be treated and cured, especially if they’re diagnosed at an early stage. Therefore, it’s important to understand your body and be aware of any unexplained changes, such as the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in your urine or if a mole changes shape or colour.
These symptoms can often be caused by other, non-cancerous illnesses, but it's important to see your GP as soon as possible, so they can be fully investigated.
Reduce your risk of developing cancer
There’s a number of simple changes you can make to your everyday lifestyle, to help reduce your risk of developing cancer, including eating healthier, being more active and stopping smoking.
There are a number of local and national organisations, which can provide information, advice and support, if you or someone you know is affected by cancer.
Brain Tumour Support run a bi-monthly support group at St Michael’s Hospice, for anyone who has been affected by a brain tumour, their family, friends or carers.
Herefordshire Breast Cancer Support Group is a forum which men and women, with a breast cancer diagnosis, can join at any stage of their treatment or at any time when hospital treatment has ended. They offer a monthly support group, with occasional guest speakers, along with online support.
Hope Support Services support children and young people, aged 11 and over, when a family member is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, such as cancer.
Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service, based within the Macmillan Renton Unit at Hereford County Hospital, offer free information, support and practical advice for anyone affected by cancer, including confidential one to one support and a weekly relaxation group.
The Bracken Trust support people living with cancer and their families by providing information, advice, counselling, complementary therapies, events and activities.
The Swallows Head & Neck Cancer Support Group offer a range of services, including a 24/7 telephone helpline and a monthly support group based in Worcestershire, but open to anyone living in Herefordshire.
Yeleni Therapy & Support offer those with cancer up to nine free, complementary therapy sessions, alongside self-help groups, workshops and classes.
Cancer Research UK is a leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research. They also run a range of public fundraising events and offer an online Cancer Chat, where you can talk to others living with cancer.
Macmillan Cancer Support provide emotional, physical and financial support to help those with cancer live life as fully as possible. They also offer an Online Community for people to support one another, share experiences and ask questions, along with a Telephone Buddies service.
Marie Curie help and support people living with a terminal illness, and their families, to achieve the best quality of life and retain independence and dignity for as long as possible. They can provide care in your own home or within one of their hospices.
The NHS provide a vast amount of useful information, including different types of cancer, signs and symptoms and cancer services and treatments.
Find local services