March Newsletter



There are 12 main symptoms of breast cancer. When we talk about the changes you might see in your breast that we would be concerned about, they can be quite difficult to visualise. Know Your Lemons Foundation has a fantastic guide using lemons to clearly demonstrate changes you should see your GP about.

Men can get breast cancer too, although it is much less common than in women. Breast cancer in men appears in the small amount of breast tissue behind the nipple. If you are concerned about a lump, discharge or other symptom, or have a family history of breast cancer, you should speak to your GP.

March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Age, location and ethnic origin should not be reasons for different outcomes from an ovarian cancer diagnosis. 24% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are in their 70s and, for some, this will mean they are not offered surgery, despite this delivering the best long-term prognosis.

There are many symptoms of ovarian cancer, some of the most common are:

A swollen tummy or feeling bloated

Pain or tenderness in the tummy or area between the hips (pelvis)

No appetite or feeling full very quickly after eating

An urgent need to pee or having to pee more often

If you’re experiencing symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your GP.

A family history of cancer can mean that you should receive genetic testing for certain genetic mutations that result in an increased risk of cancer. This could be important for you or for your children or siblings. Mutations like BRCA-1, BRCA-2 and Lynch syndrome can increase your likelihood of ovarian and other cancers. Ovarian Cancer Action has a risk tool that can help you to understand your risk.

Around one in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. Think about how many men you care about as friends and family might be affected. March the month is about hitting 11,000 steps a day, each day, in March to represent the 11,000 men who die of the condition each year in the UK.

Your risk of prostate cancer increases if you are over 50, black or have a family history of prostate cancer. If you are a trans-woman or non-binary, your risk may differ. You can check what your risk is using this tool from Prostate Cancer UK.

78% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will survive for at least ten years after diagnosis. Early diagnosis greatly improves outcomes. If you are at increased risk, it’s important to talk to your GP about it.

Healthy diet

It’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet for your overall health. You do need to consider calorie intake, but that’s not the only consideration. Fat, sugar and salt should only be eaten in moderation to ensure you stay fit and healthy for life.

The Eatwell guide helps to visualise what a well-balanced diet should look like. If you can’t balance each meal, then try to balance intake across the day or week.

Coronavirus – staying safe in surgery

While we appreciate that restrictions to protect against Coronavirus are now being removed, we have vulnerable patients in surgery and we’d like to continue protecting them as we have done since the start of the pandemic. Therefore, please:

Continue to wear a face mask while in the surgery

Don’t attend the surgery with Coronavirus symptoms unless you have discussed this with a clinician.

If you have tested positive for Covid, please do not attend the surgery unless asked to by a clinician.

Children aged 5-11 in the UK are to be be offered vaccination against Coronavirus, and the programme will be rolled out over the coming weeks. It is likely that vaccination in these age groups will not be carried out in general practice. We will keep you informed about progress on this campaign when we receive further information.

Hearing problems and loss

Do you find it difficult to hear when there is a lot of background noise? Do you find it difficult to keep up with the conversation? Do other people comment about how loud your TV or radio is? If so, you may be suffering from hearing loss. It’s not unusual for other people to notice you are struggling to hear before you do.

One in five adults, a total of twelve million people in the UK, have hearing loss or deafness. If you meet someone who suffers from hearing loss or deafness, you can ask them how to make communication easier for them. It might include sitting face to face so they can read your lips more easily, or sitting on their “good” side.

Childhood immunisations

Routine childhood Immunisations are important for the health and well-being of your child. We offer vaccination for common childhood illnesses that can cause serious, and even life-threatening complications. Children are offered vaccination as babies, pre-schoolers and as teenagers. All are vital in ensuring that our own children stay well, but also in continuing to protect us all by making it harder for these diseases to spread.

Review appointments

Attending reviews for long-term conditions helps us to support you in the best possible way. Long-term conditions are often areas where a lot of research is being done, and new treatments become available over time. Improved recommendations can make big differences to our understanding of patients’ conditions. If you haven’t attended a review in some time, you might want to make your review appointment, so we can talk about how we can improve things for you.

If we’ve asked you to speak to us for a medication review, what do we mean by that? Medication reviews are carried out so that we can be sure that you’re taking your medicines correctly, and that you’re on the right doses. They can also help us to understand whether you’re suffering side effects of the medications you’re taking. Patient Information Leaflet - A4 format.pdf

Eating Disorders Awareness Week (28th February – 6th March)

Eating disorders are mental health conditions where you use control of food to cope with feelings and other situations. Conditions are as varied as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder(ARFID). Treatments vary by individual. If you’re concerned that someone you know may have disordered eating, you might find the guidance here helpful.

Do you binge eat, purge, avoid eating, or have a large number of foods you choose to avoid? Does food create feelings of stress in your life? If so, you might want to think about your relationship with food.

No Smoking Day (9th March)

The first No Smoking Day was held on “Ash Wednesday”. Now, No Smoking Day is held on the second Wednesday in March each year. If you’re still smoking, there’s no better time to quit than now. Children of smokers have three times the risk of getting lung cancer in later life compared to children of non-smokers.

When you quit smoking, the improvements in your health start in as little as 20 minutes, and continue for years after you quit. After eight hours, the amount of carbon monoxide in your blood will have halved. Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer is half that of a smoker’s. and Hydration Week (14th – 20th March)

Within healthcare environments, nutrition and hydration must be carefully managed to ensure that an individual’s needs are met. This includes ensuring that personal preferences, as well as religious and cultural needs, are taken into account.

Adequate hydration is critical to ensure your long term wellbeing. Dehydration can cause serious side effects such as:


Dizziness or lightheadedness


Decrease in urination

Dark yellow- or amber-coloured urine

Decreased skin elasticity

Dry mouth and mucous membranes (lips, gums, nostrils)

Low blood pressure

Healthy diets should include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, proteins and complex carbohydrates. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables contributes many necessary vitamins and minerals to our diet and is vital for healthy gut flora.

Swallowing Awareness Day (16th March)

Most people will never have given any thought to whether they are able to swallow easily. If you can’t swallow effectively, it can have a drastic impact on your on your life. Difficulty swallowing is called Dysphagia. It can cause difficulty with saliva, drinks and food, and occurs in all age groups, from infants to older adults.

Difficulty swallowing is managed differently depending on the nature of your problem and the causes. The effects of problems with swallowing can include malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration pneumonia and choking.

World Oral Health Day (20th March)

Be proud of your mouth. World Oral Health Day encourages all of us to take care of our mouths. Oral health is closely linked with overall health.

If you’re looking for a dentist, you can find a list of NHS dentists here. You may find that you need to join a waiting list to be seen, as NHS dentists are very busy dealing with backlogs caused by Coronavirus.

Published: Mar 1, 2022