How healthcare professionals can get involved with Cancer Prevention Action Week

Did you know that more than 1,000 people are diagnosed with cancer a day in the UK? Did you also know that 40% of all cancer cases could be prevented? 

That’s why this week – aka Cancer Prevention Action Week – we’re taking the time to talk about cancer, cancer symptoms and what you can do to reduce your chances of developing cancer.  

Carry on reading to learn more about how you can get involved as a healthcare professional. 

What is Cancer Prevention Action Week? 

Cancer Prevention Action Week takes place at the end of February each year to raise awareness of cancer types, cancer symptoms and lifestyle changes you can make to prevent it. 

This year, the focus is on reducing processed meat.

Why is processed meat relevant to cancer? 

Consuming processed meats, such as sausages, chicken nuggets, bacon and ham, can drastically increase your chances of bowel cancer.

As well as being high in salt and saturated fat, processed meats contain harmful chemicals which can increase your risk of cancer, including: haem, nitrates, nitrites, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic amines (PCAs).

How can I cut down on processed meat? 

If you don’t want to give up meat completely, there are plenty of ways you can cut down, as well as alternatives to help you beat the cravings! Here’s a few ideas…

  • Try plant-based alternatives – they’re pretty realistic nowadays!
  • Trade processed meat for chicken or fish.
  • Reduce your portion sizes when you eat red meat.
  • Go veggie for a month and discover new recipes.
  • Double check the ingredients – avoid foods that have the words nitrate, nitrite, cured or salted in the description.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer? 

Make sure your patients are aware of the key symptoms of bowel cancer so they can seek medical advice sooner rather than later. These include: 

  • Persistent blood following bowel movements
  • Going to the loo more frequently than what is normal for you
  • Abdominal pains
  • Runny stools

Remind patients that if these symptoms continue for longer than 3 weeks then they need to see a GP for further tests. 

How can I help raise awareness as a healthcare professional? 

  • Put up informative posters around your practice
  • Discuss diet with your patients
  • Promote health benefits of cutting down on red meat/going veggie 
  • Get them to take this quiz

Amaré Health is an advocate for Cancer Prevention Action Week and looks forward to seeing people get involved over the coming days!

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