RESIDENTS in the Forth Valley with possible cancer symptoms are being encouraged to seek help without delay as part of a health campaign.

NHS Forth Valley is backing the national Be the Early Bird campaign, which reinforces the benefits of finding cancer at an earlier stage.

Finding the condition early means there are more treatment options available with a greater likelihood of living well after treatment.

The campaign is particularly aimed at people aged 40 and over and urges everyone with persistent symptoms, which are unusual for them, to contact their GP practice without delay.

Symptoms could include unexplained bleeding, unusual lumps, unexplained weight loss or simply something that does not feel normal.

Susan Davidson, NHS Forth Valley’s clinical nurse manager for Oncology Services, said: “If you notice something persistent that isn’t normal for you, don’t delay making an appointment with your GP practice.

“In most cases these symptoms will unlikely be due to cancer but more can be done to treat cancer if it’s found at an earlier stage, so it’s best to get checked.”

A range of resources is available for people online to learn more about various cancers and possible symptoms.

For instance, early signs of lung cancer could include a change in cough or a new cough, change in breathlessness or new breathlessness along with a persistent or recurring chest infection.

Blood in excrement or bleeding from the bottom, severe pain in the stomach that will not go away especially after eating, are some of the early signs of bowel cancer.

Breast cancer remains the most common type for Scottish women but survival chances are five times higher when it is caught early.

Symptoms may include leaking nipples, skin like orange peel, dimples, bleeding or crusty nipples and more.

Ross MacDuff, joint national clinical lead for earlier cancer diagnosis at the Centre for Sustainable Delivery, added: “Finding cancer in its earliest stages is really key to maximising treatment options.

“That’s why it’s so important that anyone who is experiencing persistent symptoms that are unusual for them contacts their GP practice so they can be assessed as soon as possible and referred, if appropriate, to the correct specialist.

“Whether it is you that has possible symptoms, a family member or friend, please don’t put off making an appointment with your GP practice.

“If cancer is confirmed earlier, a much wider range of treatment options can be available and the body can respond better to treatment.”

Visit getcheckedearly.orgfor more information on possible cancer symptoms.