Cancer is a condition where abnormal cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.

It is important that pharmacy teams are aware of how to identify red flag symptoms of cancer to help with early diagnosis, referral, rapid treatment and to support for patients.

This page will provide you with direct links to key websites to support pharmacy teams.

 

What is cancer?

Cancer is a condition where abnormal cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs

Cancer red flags in a community pharmacy setting

It is important that pharmacy teams are aware of how to identify red flag symptoms of cancer to help with early diagnosis, referral and rapid treatment. Although it is unlikely to be cancer, it is important that patients presenting with certain signs and symptoms are referred to their GP for further investigation.

To support members we have produced a cancer red flag factsheet, which provides information and advice, highlighting symptoms that may be indicative of more serious conditions requiring further investigation or referral.

Access the NPA Cancer red flag factsheet here

 

Prevention

Making some lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

                                        Early referral

Any changes to the body or new symptoms that do not go away require referral. Early referral helps with early diagnosis and treatment.

Information for signs and symptoms of different types of cancers:

Cancer screening in the UK

In UK, the NHS offer regular cancer screening for:

For further information:

Support after diagnosis

See patient/family/career support lines below

Support for end of life/palliative care

End of life care is support for people who are in the last months or years of their life.

Patient/family/career support lines

Key Signposting

NHS: Cancer health condition overview

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline

NHS Long Term Plan

UK Health Security Agency Campaign Resources

Health Education England: elfh Let's communicate cancer

NHS Wales: Health in Wales, Cancer

NHS Inform Scotland: Illness and Conditions, Cancer

Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer

Northern Ireland Direct: Illness and Conditions, Cancer

Northern Ireland Cancer Network

Macmillan Cancer Support

Cancer Research Information and support