The first ever Less Survivable Cancer Awareness Day aims to raise the profile of the 6 less survivable cancers. The aim is also to highlight their symptoms with the public, encouraging people to see their GP if they have worrying symptoms.
The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce is an alliance of charities representing people diagnosed with one of the 6 less survivable cancers: cancers of the lung, pancreas, liver, brain, oesophagus and stomach. Over 90,000 people are diagnosed with one of these cancers every year in the UK and they account for almost half of all common cancer deaths.
Sadly, only 16% of people diagnosed with a less survivable cancer will live for 5 years or more after diagnosis. Less survivable cancers are difficult to diagnose, with vague or non-specific symptoms. Screening programmes are often limited or non-existent and most of the general public are unaware of common symptoms.
Toby recently contacted the Health Secretary about sarcoma, a lesser-known group of cancers which begin in the bones or soft tissue, on behalf of a local resident who had experienced the loss of a family member to the condition.
Since taking office in 2010, successive Conservative-led administrations have slashed NHS budgets in real terms, leading to rigorous targets on cancer diagnosis and treatment times being missed.
Toby stated “I am pleased to speak out for people diagnosed with less survivable cancers and support the first Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day, particularly given recent correspondence from a local resident in Chesterfield. It is clear that early diagnosis is crucial and now is the time to work together and make a real difference in life chances for thousands of people across the country who are diagnosed with these cancers each year.”
Anna Jewell, Chair of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce added: “We are delighted that Toby Perkins MP is supporting the first Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day. These cancers are currently difficult or impossible to treat at later stages and the time from diagnosis to death is often brutally short compared to more survivable cancers. The situation is critical and has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Taskforce is calling for a significant increase in research funding as well as a commitment to increasing resources for early diagnosis for less survivable cancers.”
The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce is urging everyone to be aware of the symptoms of these deadly cancers and to seek medical help at the earliest opportunity if they recognise any of the signs.
Typical symptoms will vary but red flags for less survivable cancers could include any of the following; indigestion, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, a loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, a persistent cough, unexplained tiredness, headaches or nausea.