Nurse aims to deter cancer with lifestyle tips

Louise Dewhurst, cancer awareness nurse with Cancer Research UK
Louise Dewhurst, cancer awareness nurse with Cancer Research UK

A Preston nurse – Louise Dewhurst – has an extensive knowledge of the devastating impact cancer can have on a patient and their families.

She also understands the value of efforts and achievements by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) as she works alongside the charity as its cancer awareness nurse.

Last year's Race for Life in Preston

Last year's Race for Life in Preston

The 48-year-old, who lives in Broughton, attends CRUK’s Cancer Awareness Roadshow which tours towns and cities, including Preston and across the North West offering information about the signs and symptoms of cancer.

The roadshow, which was at Royal Preston Hospital last month, also offers visitors information about ways in which people can help to stack their odds against cancer by making small life-style changes.

Louise – who will be travelling the North West with this year’s roadshow between now and December - is encouraging mums, daughters, sisters and friends to unite to help beat the disease and boost vital health prevention and awareness work by entering the Race for Life 5k, 10k or Pretty Muddy events at Moor Park over the weekend of Saturday June 17 and Sunday June 18.

The mum-of-two has been working for Cancer Research UK for three years and took up the role on the North West Cancer Awareness Roadshow this year.

Cancer Research UK logo

Cancer Research UK logo

She says: “I am really proud to work for Cancer Research UK and enjoy my role as Cancer Awareness Nurse as I can use all my nursing experience in this valuable position out on the road.

“I had a very close friend who unfortunately died from melanoma just before I started working for Cancer Research UK, this gives me constant inspiration to spread the cancer awareness message.”

Every day, around 110 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, raises millions of pounds every year to find new ways to tackle cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, more than four in 10 cases of cancer could be prevented, largely through lifestyle changes, so the Cancer Awareness Roadshow is out there spreading the word and informing people about the ways they can stack the odds in their favour against cancer.

Not smoking is the best thing people can do to reduce the risk of cancer.

After smoking, obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK, and is linked to 13 different types of cancer including bowel, breast (after the menopause), and pancreatic.

Nurses on the roadshow will offer information about making small lifestyle changes that could make a big difference.

Last year the North West Cancer Awareness Roadshow team met around 13,500 people and took 724 waist measurements, did 593 Smokerlyzer tests and carried out 767 BMI (body mass index) assessments.

As well as getting measured, this year’s visitors can hold “fat lumps” – a prop designed to show what 1lb or 5lbs of fat looks like - or view the tar jar showing the effect of smoking 10 cigarettes-a-day for a year.

There’s also the chance to have a conversation with a nurse in the roadshow’s on-board private room and the Cancer Research UK team can put people in touch with other health services in their area such as stop smoking services, which are the most effective way to stop smoking.

Louise says: “We talk to men and women, young and old about the small steps we can all take to reduce the risk of cancer and about why it’s important to tell their doctor if they notice any unusual or persistent changes to their body.

“Most people we speak to go away intending to make small changes to their lifestyle which can play an important role in reducing the risk of cancer.

“It might be pledging to get off the bus two stops earlier and walk part way to work, to go for a jog in your lunch break or to stop smoking! Whatever it is we are here to help.”

And one way women can get fit is by walking and running regularly.

Louise adds: “It can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle but just making a few small changes can have a real impact.

“One way for women to get a little more active is to sign up to take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 5k, 10k or Pretty Muddy events which are taking place at Moor Park.

“Signing up to take part in Race for Life is a great way for women of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities to commit to get a little more active.

“Race for Life events are non-competitive and participants can choose to walk, jog or run around the course.

“There’s an event to suit everyone - it’s not about being fast or first over the finish line; it’s about coming together to beat cancer sooner.”

Every day, around 110 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, raises millions of pounds every year to find new ways to tackle the disease.

Money raised through Race for Life helps to make long-term research and pioneering trials possible, leading to new tests, kinder treatments and cures, which could save the lives of more people across the North West.

Sign up for Race for Life now by visiting www.raceforlife.org or calling 0300 123 0770. For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work visit www.cancerresearchuk.org.