Cancer and Screening

NHS England and NHS Improvement launched a radically new cancer phase of the “Help Us, Help You” campaign.

The aim is to encourage people who are experiencing potential signs of cancer to come forward to their GP practice to help increase earlier diagnosis and improve outcomes.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to increasing the number of cancers detected at an early stage one or two from half to three quarters by 2028.

Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness

Speak to a GP if you’ve had a cough for 3 weeks or more.

Symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain may also be a sign of a condition such as pneumonia. Speak to a GP straight away if you have these types of symptoms.

Changes in bowel habits

Speak to a GP if you’ve noticed changes in your usual bowel habits and it’s lasted for 3 weeks or more.

The type of changes to look out for include:

  • tummy discomfort
  • blood in your poo
  • diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
  • a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
  • pain in your stomach or bottom (anus)
  • your poo is loose, pale or looks greasy

You may often get asked to provide a fit test. Please see patient leaflet attached


Speak to a GP if you’ve had bloating for 3 weeks or more.


You should also speak to a GP if you have any unexplained bleeding, such as:


Speak to a GP if you notice a lump in your breast or if you have a lump that’s noticeably increasing in size elsewhere on your body.

It’s important to regularly check your breasts, underarms, groin and testicles for any new lumps or changes.


Speak to a GP if you have a mole that:

  • changes shape or looks uneven
  • changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours
  • starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding
  • gets larger or more raised from the skin

Any of these changes mean there’s a chance you have melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer.

Unexplained weight loss

You should also speak to a GP if you’ve lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that cannot be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress.

Read about unintentional weight loss.

Tummy or back pain

Speak to a GP if you have pain anywhere in your tummy or back and you’re not sure what’s causing it. This includes a dull pain that’s always there or a sharp pain that comes and goes.

Indigestion and heartburn

Some cancers can give you indigestion or heartburn and acid reflux. This can feel like burning in your chest (heartburn) and make you burp or hiccup more than usual.

Speak to a GP if you get any of these symptoms regularly and are not sure why you’re getting them.

Itchy or yellow skin

Speak to a GP if your skin is itchy, and your skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow (jaundice). Your pee may also look darker than usual.

Feeling tired and unwell

With some cancers the symptoms can be harder to notice. It’s important to speak to a GP if you think something is not right, or you keep feeling tired and unwell and you’re not sure why.


People at higher risk

It’s particularly important to look out for cancer symptoms if:

  • you have been diagnosed with a condition that means you’re at higher risk of getting cancer
  • 2 or more of your close relatives (such as a parent, brother or sister) have had cancer

More information

The following links have more useful information about cancer:

Please see each separate page for specific Cancer screening

Some of the Cancer Support Services available

Macmillan’s support line is open 7 days a week and offers confidential support to people living with cancer and to their loved ones. If you are worried about money, work, treatment, drugs, or you just want to speak about whatever matters to you, you can call free on 0808 808 0000.

Support is also available via the Macmillan online community – information can be found at or sign up for support at

Information in your language – Macmillan produces a range of information in languages other than English. They also offer an interpreter service on their Macmillan Support Line. Braille Email – [email protected] if you need cancer information in Braille.

British Sign Language – A range of information videos in British Sign Language for cancer from what it is to treatments is available on YouTube.

The Let’s Talk Cancer Campaign

Aims to encourage people to make cancer part of their everyday conversations and to dispel the fears surrounding the word cancer.

Citizens Advice – Carlisle & Eden

Telephone: 03300563037 for Macmillan Benefits advice

Appleby & District Cancer Support Group

Meet for coffee at the Guide hut at Appleby every first and third Monday 10:00 -12:00 in month except Bank Holidays. For further information or to talk in confidence please contact Rose on 017683 52263 or Jacqueline 017683 52277

Hospice at Home – Carlisle & North Lakeland

To enhance quality of life for adults, their families and carers in our area, through skilled and compassionate care and support at home and in their community.

Eden Valley Hospice provide care and support to people affected by life limiting illness and those who require palliative care. 01228 810801

Teenage Cancer Trust  Support service for people living with cancer under the age of 24, their loved ones and carers. 020 7612 0370 [email protected]

Cancer Care Map is a very useful resource to find out any services or groups that may exist in your area from lifestyle support such as physical activity services to local support groups.  Helps you find support with the things that matter most to you.

Cancer Support UK

Provide practical and emotional support to people with cancer, during and after the treatment period. 020 3983 7616

The Northern Cancer Alliance reduces inequalities, improving outcomes for everyone affected by cancer and delivering the best possible patient experience.  They also have a useful Facebook page.

Living with and beyond cancer North Cumbria. Cumbria CVS is working with the Northern Cancer Alliance and Macmillan to support personalised care and recovery for people affected by cancer in North Cumbria.  They also have a useful facebook page.

North Cumbria Haematology Support Group (Blood Buddies) North Cumbria Haematology Support Group (Blood Buddies) is a small and informal group that meets every second Monday of the month in the Auctioneer pub in Carlisle. It welcomes anyone affected by any type of blood cancer including myeloma.

Please click on the three lines on the left hand side of ‘Appleby Medical Practice’ for further practice related information.