Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of the Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, asks if we are doing enough to reduce the risks of contracting cancer.

At least one in three people will be affected with cancer during our life time, with under half of those cases being due to lifestyle. Yet we continue to make significant progress in increasing the number of people who survive cancer, much of which can be attributed to early detection, the ability of people to change their lifestyles or greater access to modern cancer treatments.

As individuals there is much more we can achieve - in both the prevention or early detection - of cancer.

The lifestyles we lead can increase the probability of contracting cancer and or heart disease. The effects of obesity, smoking and alcohol are preventable and organisations such as Cancer Research UK provide information on how you can take action to reduce the risk of getting cancer.

Nationally, each year since the introduction of bowel screening for people over 60 and HPV testing for cervical careening more and more instances of cancers have been detected earlier, increasing the chances of survival.

If you are eligible to take either test, received your information packs and not yet completed them I would encourage you to do so. Identifying cancer earlier is critical to saving more lives.

In Bolton we recognise that delivering a “whole system” approach to the way we deal with cancer is best. To this end we formed a unique partnership between GP Practices, the local hospital, the CCG, the council and voluntary organisations with the aim of achieving better outcomes for patients

From early diagnosis to treatment, to support on living with cancer through to information on life after cancer we are able to provide a highly coordinated and consistent care pathway for each and every patient.

We have already reduced referral times in Bolton, so from the first visit to your GP to diagnosis now only takes nine days. Whilst this is really positive step forward, I would challenge everyone in our community to ask themselves “How can I reduce the risk of contracting cancer”.