The term 'cancer' covers a range of different related diseases that can affect different parts of the body. In all cases, cancer is when cells in the body start to divide uncontrollably. In this process, more cells are created which are damaged and cancerous too. Over time these cancer cells build up and can form solid lumps, called tumours. They can also spread and infect other parts of the body too. Cancer cells can damage the parts of the body that they affect, stopping your body from being able to function normally.

Some cancers are more common in people with HIV. This is because healthy immune systems often act to stop abnormal cell growth. If your immune system is weak, for example as a result of untreated HIV, your body is less able to protect itself. For people with HIV, taking antiretroviral treatment and keeping a healthy lifestyle helps to avoid cancer.

There are different treatments available for different cancers. Treatment works best when cancer is diagnosed early. You should talk to a healthcare worker about any health problems or changes in your body, and attend any screenings you are offered. If you do develop cancer, the treatment given will depend on where the cancer is, the stage it is at and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

The most common treatments for cancer are:

a) surgery - where cancerous cells are removed in an operation
b) chemotherapy - where chemicals target cancer cells to stop them dividing
c) radiotherapy - where powerful X-rays are used to destroy cancer cells.

Diabetes is a life-long condition that affects how your body absorbs sugar from the food you eat. If you have diabetes, you have to do things to keep the amount of sugar in your blood steady, otherwise, it can become dangerously high.

Sugar (or glucose) is normally managed by a hormone that your body produces called insulin. There are two types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, your body's immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin, so you can't get enough insulin to manage your sugar levels. In type 2 diabetes, your body stops producing or responding to insulin in the right way. This means your sugar levels become too high. Both diabetes types are dangerous because having too much sugar in your blood can damage your nervous system, heart, eyes, kidneys as well as other parts of the body.

To reduce your risk of getting diabetes:

  • keep a healthy lifestyle
  • do regular exercise
  • eat a healthy diet
  • adhere to your antiretroviral treatment if you have HIV.

The most common symptoms of diabetes are:

a) feeling very thirsty
b) peeing a lot more than usual
c) feeling more tired
d) blurred vision.

If you experience these symptoms you should speak to a healthcare worker.

Heart disease describes a collection of illnesses that affect the heart. One of the most common problems affecting the heart is having narrow or blocked blood vessels. These are the tubes that move your blood around your body. Having narrow blood vessels puts pressure on your heart. Narrow or blocked blood vessels can cause:

a) heart attacks - where your heart can't pump blood and stops
b) strokes - where the blood supply to your brain is cut off
c) heart failure - where your heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

It's also possible to have problems with the muscles in the heart or the signals that control the rhythm of your heartbeat. People with abnormal heartbeats may feel a fluttering or discomfort in their chest, have problems breathing, feel dizzy or faint. Speak to a healthcare worker if you experience any of these symptoms.

Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or managed with a healthy lifestyle. Exercising, stopping smoking and cutting down on fatty foods are some of the best ways to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.