Blackpool residents are being urged to air any worries they have about cancer with their GP.
The town’s lead clinical consultant for cancer, Dr Ian Arthur, said it was important any sudden instances of bleeding, whether it’s from the bowel, in urine or during a cough should be investigated by a doctor.
He said it could be the early signs of cancer, but with early treatment could be stopped before it turned into a tumour.
Dr Arthur, who works in the obstetrics and gynaecology department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said: “Conditions like cancer need an early review, initially by a doctor who will refer you to a hospital specialist if need be.
“There are a variety of ongoing screening programmes for individuals to comply with even if they are in good health.”
Dr Arthur said Blackpool had some big challenges.
“We have high rates of bowel cancer, which is related to exercise, diet and general health measures,” he said.
“We also have high rates of cervical cancer and lung cancer, which is related to the high number of people smoking in Blackpool.
“Smoking is not just related to cancer in the lungs, but it can lead to tumours all over the body.
“A lot of tumours do relate to elements of deprivation – we are not alone in the UK but we do have specific problems in areas of Blackpool.”
Dr Arthur’s comments come on World Cancer Awareness Day.
He said: “It’s something which needs to be brought into general conversation, not spoken of in hushed voices.
“Historically we have always seen cancer as a singular disease and an incurable disease, but that’s very much not the case on two levels.
“It’s a very different disease depending on what organ it affects, and you could almost argue cancer is the wrong word. Tumours in some organs are very curable and very treatable. Others can be more difficult and arduous to work with.
“But in any form, cancer success rates rely very much on early diagnosis – delaying investigation and treatment it what reduces success rates for all of us.”
Dr Arthur explained that cancer was something that could happen at any age, not just in the elderly.
He added: “We need to be looking out for the signs, whenever they might crop up.”
He said anyone worried about usual bleeding or lumps should visit their doctor.