4 February 2022

World Cancer Day 2022 – What to do if you recognise signs of cancer

In 2018, 18 million people worldwide were diagnosed with cancer¹. In the UK, there are around 375,000 new cancer cases every year, equating to over1,000 cases every day. Thanks to research, 2 in 4 people in the UK survive their cancer for ten years or more but it is imperative to check any concerns as soon as possible. Early intervention leads to a better prognosis and can save lives. That’s why World Cancer Day on the 4th February wants to raise awareness of symptoms and encourage people to check any areas of concern.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease that occurs when changes in a group of normal cells within the body lead to uncontrolled, abnormal growth forming a lump called a tumour There are more than 100 types of cancer and it can start almost anywhere in the human body.

Causes of Cancer

Many factors cause cancer with the 3 main risks being age, family history and lifestyle factors such as smoking, weight and alcohol consumption². It’s thought around one-third of cancer cases can be prevented by reducing behavioural and dietary risks.

Factors that you can control to reduce your chances of getting cancer include reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, improved diet and nutrition, increased physical activity, quitting smoking, reduced prolonged exposure to the sun and workplace hazards.

Other factors fall into the bracket of non-modifiable risks, including age and genetics.

Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

With so many different types of cancers, the symptoms often vary depending on where the disease is located. Here are some of the more common signs and symptoms of cancer. However, any of these can be caused by other problems as well.
  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest.
  • Weight loss or gain of 10 pounds or more for no known reason
  • Eating problems such as not feeling hungry, trouble swallowing, belly pain, or nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling or lumps anywhere in the body
  • Thickening or lump in the breast or other part of the body
  • Pain, especially new or with no known reason, that doesn’t go away or gets worse
  • Cough or hoarseness that does not go away
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising for no known reason

Early detection of cancer is critical.

The signs and symptoms listed above are the more common ones seen with cancer, but many others are not listed here. If you notice any significant changes in how your body works or how you feel – especially if it lasts for a long time or gets worse – let a doctor know. Several cancers can be identified early, which helps to improve the chances of successful treatment outcomes.

What if you are an ECIS client on the JIB Private Medical Insurance scheme?

The JIB scheme provides a number of services related to cancer; including:
  • Direct access service through Bupa
  • Digital GP
  • Full cover for cancer treatment
  • Sick Pay
If you have not taken up your PMI benefits or would like to add a family member to your policy, you can speak to your line manager or get in touch with ECIS on 0330 221 0241 for more information.

If you are not a member of the benefits package but see signs of cancer, please contact your GP immediately.

¹ https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/get-involved/donate/world-cancer-day-2022