A GP who has seen first-hand the personal devastation caused by cancer is helping to organise an event to raise awareness of the disease.

Dr Rehana Master, of Waterside Surgery, Blackburn is encouraging people of every race, age and background to come and find out more about how to protect themselves from cancer.

The mother-of-two, 37, who lost her father to lung cancer in 1996 and had a personal scare with a breast lump a year later, is hosting a free awareness day called Combat Cancer b4 it Combats U.

It will be held in Pleckgate School on March 2 between 10am and 2pm and is open to everyone.

She said the lack of knowledge of cancer screening and prevention was contributing to the high levels of the disease in the area, particularly in the BME community.

"Cancer is not selective, it does not care who you are, how old you are, what your responsibilities or personal circumstances are.

“Once it gets a hold of you there are always consequences.

“My father died from lung cancer, and I found a breast lump nine months later. Thankfully it was benign, but I was shocked to hear how many friends don’t know how to self examine.

“Unfortunately the figures for Blackburn with Darwen are not brilliant so if illnesses can be picked up earlier when they are more treatable it would be better for the patient and their friends and family.

“Nowadays most people know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, yet not enough preventative measures or lifestyle changes are being implemented.

“By eating healthily, being physically active and keeping to a healthy weight, the rate of the most common cancers could be reduced.”

In the borough over 330 people die from cancer every year. The area doesn’t meet the targets for any of the national screening programmes for breast, bowel and lung cancer.

The event on March 2 is being organised on behalf of the Abu Hanifah Foundation, which is a charitable organisation that promotes education and awareness of the needs of society.

It is being supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the Care Trust Plus’ Dragon’s Apprentice scheme.