Be a slave to your screenings
When a letter arrives inviting you to a health screening, it can feel like one more thing to add to a never-ending to-do list. But cervical screenings (previously known as smear tests) are thought to save around 5,000 lives a year in the UK and prevent eight out of 10 cancers from developing, while mammograms save 1,300 lives a year.
The most obvious advice is to go for your screenings whenever you’re called, but aside from that, keep an eye on worrying symptoms. When it comes to checking your breasts, check your armpit and up to your collarbones for lumps, swelling or thickening of the skin. The more you know what’s normal, the more confident you’ll be to spot differences, like a change in size or shape. Always see your GP about unexplained, constant pain in your breast or armpit, too. Eight out of 10 lumps are not cancerous, but you only know by checking.
Other signs to look out for when it comes to female cancers are pelvic pain, unusual discharge or bleeding – such as after sex – changes in bathroom habits, persistent bloating and itching or burning ‘down there’.
‘Losing as little as 10% of body weight reduces the risk of a wide range of illnesses’