LOCAL MP Rebecca Pow has given her backing to a campaign to close a deadly cancer gap.
Ms Pow is supporting the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) in highlighting the critical importance of symptom awareness in improving survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with these cancers.
The LSCT represents six less survivable cancers - lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic, and stomach.
They have an average five-year survival rate of just 16 per cent and make up nearly half of all common cancer deaths in the UK.
The LCST said less survivable cancers were difficult to diagnose as screening programmes were limited or non-existent and most people were unaware of common symptoms.
A UK-wide survey carried out by the LSCT found that awareness of the symptoms of these deadliest cancers was dangerously low across the country with only one per cent of respondents able to correctly identify all symptoms of liver cancer from a list presented to them.
Symptom awareness for the other cancers was only slightly better in most cases.
As well as a focus on symptom awareness, the LSCT is calling for the Government to commit to increasing survival rates for less survivable cancers to 28 per cent by 2029 by eliminating avoidable delays in diagnosis and proactively investing in research and treatment options.
Ms Pow said: “Each year, thousands of people across the UK are diagnosed with a less survivable cancer and it is a tragedy that this results in such a brutally short life expectancy.
“I am pleased to support less survivable cancers awareness and the aims of the taskforce.
“I am also keen for metastasis to be explored, whereby cancers spread throughout the body.”
Taskforce chairwoman Anna Jewell said: “It is deeply concerning that most of the public are unaware of common symptoms of less survivable cancers.“It is one of the many challenges that we are facing in the fight against these deadly diseases.
“All of the less survivable cancers are difficult to diagnose and treatment options are falling far behind those for more-survivable but equally common cancers.
“The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce is urging everybody to be aware of the symptoms of cancer and to seek medical help at the earliest opportunity if they recognise any of the signs.
“We are delighted that Rebecca Pow is supporting our Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day.”
Typical symptoms will vary, but red flags for less survivable cancers could include any of the following: Persistent indigestion, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, a loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, a persistent cough, unexplained tiredness, headaches, or nausea.
More information about these cancers can be found at www.lesssurvivablecancers.org.uk.