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Cancer is a disease affecting cells in the body. It happens when normal cells change and begin to grow in an unusual way. This unusual and unrestrained growth can result in the formation of a lump, or ‘tumour’.

If the tumour is malignant (i.e. cancerous and tending to invade normal tissue) it can cause serious problems. If the tumour is benign, it is not cancerous and does not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumours can spread into nearby tissue, put pressure on other parts of the body or spread to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system or bloodstream.

Cancer symptoms

There are lots of different types of cancer, which means that there are also lots of different symptoms associated with the illness. Experts in the study of cancer have identified a few common symptoms.Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer; it could be something far less serious. However, it is important to get these types of symptoms checked by a doctor.If you have had a diagnosis of a malignant form of cancer, scroll down the page to see how the Hospice might be able to help you.

Cancer symptoms can include:

A lump or swelling on the body
A change in shape, size, colour or itchiness of a mole
A mouth or tongue ulcer that hasn’t got better after three weeks
Problems passing urine (or blood in your urine)
Blood in your bowel movements
Unexplained weight loss
Coughing up blood
An unexplained pain that has lasted for more than four weeks
An unusual change in your breast

Types of cancer

There are more than 200 different types of cancer. This is because there are more than 200 types of cells in the human body and cancer happens when cells act in an unusual and uncontrolled way.

Some of the more common types of cancer include:

Lung cancer
Breast cancer
Prostate cancer
Bowel cancer
Ovarian cancer
Bone cancer
Brain tumours
Cervical cancer
Skin cancer
Cancer support

At St Nicholas Hospice Care, we can support you if you have had a diagnosis of cancer. You may benefit from emotional support to help you come to terms with the diagnosis, or you may need nursing and medical support to help you cope with symptoms. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, you may be interested in:

Doctor and nurse-led clinics for outpatients
Visits by hospice nurses or hospice care assistants in your own home
Physiotherapy / Occupational therapy – to help maintain independence, quality of life and wellbeing when living with a life limiting illness. We empower individuals to self-manage through rehabilitation, symptom management and education

Body image and wellbeing – practical help and advice on how to cope with changes and concerns around body image

Counselling and emotional support – to help with emotional or spiritual guidance

Complementary therapies such as massage, Acupuncture, Aromatherapy and Reiki. These therapies can help with wellbeing, coping with anxiety, relaxation and managing difficult symptoms

We also have a range of groups and activities where you can meet people in a similar situation or talk to someone in a friendly and informal environment.

If you are not yet known to the Hospice, but think you may benefit from some of the services we have to offer, please get in touch with our First Contact team. For further information about cancer and how it affects people, please refer to the Cancer Research UK website.