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Cancer Information

There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment.

All cancers begin in cells. Our bodies are made up of more than a hundred million million (100,000,000,000,000) cells. Cancer starts with changes in one cell or a small group of cells. Usually we have just the right number of each type of cell. This is because cells produce signals to control how much and how often the cells divide. If any of these signals are faulty or missing, cells may start to grow and multiply too much and form a lump called a tumour. Where the cancer starts is called the primary tumour. Some types of cancer, called leukaemia, start from blood cells. They don’t form solid tumours. Instead, the cancer cells build up in the blood and sometimes the bone marrow. For a cancer to start, certain changes take place within the genes of a cell or a group of cells.

Changes to your body’s normal processes or symptoms that are out of the ordinary can sometimes be an early sign of cancer. For example, a lump that suddenly appears on your body, unexplained bleeding or changes to your bowel habits are all symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor. In many cases, your symptoms won’t be related to cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions. However, it’s still important for you to see your GP so that they can investigate your symptoms.

Being physically active isn’t just good for your heart: Scientists have shown that low levels of physical activity can increase the risk of certain cancers. A study published in December 2011 estimated that around 1% of cancers in the UK, around 3,400 cases every year, are linked to people doing less than government guidelines for physical activity each week. Keeping active could help to prevent around 3,400 cases of cancer every year in the UK. Being active has a wide range of benefits for the body and it’s likely that different effects are important in helping prevent different types of cancer.

Being physically active, along with a healthy, balanced diet, can also help you manage your weight. And keeping to a healthy weight is another great way to reduce the risk of developing cancer and other diseases.

How does physical activity benefit cancer patients?

There is also good evidence that being active can help people during and following cancer treatment. If you are a cancer patient and want to be more active, discuss with your doctor what would work best for you.

1 in 3 people will develop cancer in their lives.  Some of the most common forms of cancer are:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Bowel Cancer
  • Malignant Melanoma
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer

For more information on cancer and cancer research visit

Cancer Research UK