Judith Cochrane MLA said: “When cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is often simpler and more likely to be effective. I wholeheartedly back Cancer Research UK’s call for greater support to help early diagnosis of cancer. Early detection saves lives.
“I’m delighted to support Cancer Research UK. Although more of us will be diagnosed with cancer in future, there is good news. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK’s work is helping to ensure more men, women and children survive the disease.”
Cancer survival rates have doubled over the last forty years and that is partly because doctors have become much better at spotting the disease early. Most deaths from cancer are caused when it spreads around the body, so spotting cancer early, before it has had time to spread – is a real opportunity to give thousands of people more tomorrows.
Margaret Carr, Cancer Research UK’s Research Engagement Manager in Belfast, said: “We have helped develop, test and improve the screening techniques for the breast, cervical and bowel cancer National Screening Programmes. Spotting cancer early maximises your chances of successful treatment – that’s why we are doing everything we can to ensure that more people are diagnosed earlier.
“It’s great to have Judith support in helping us achieve our goal.”
Enid Davidson from Dundonald is only too aware of the importance of early diagnosis and shares her story to make other women aware. “If it makes just one woman attend for a check-up, “she said, “then it will be worth it.”
Enid’s brother Stanley has also recently seen the benefit of being aware of any unusual changes, as a visit to his doctor led to an early diagnosis of cancer. He has now finished 8 weeks of radiotherapy, did not require surgery and has been invited to take part in a trial – so an earlier diagnosis has given him a much better outcome.
Amanda Boughey, Be Clear on Cancer Lead for CRUK said, “Almost 8,700 people are diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland each year, yet we continue to lag behind other developed nations for cancer survival. Diagnosing and treating cancer early is key to beating the disease. We’re calling for MLAs and health organisations to support regionally-coordinated early diagnosis campaigns to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer. It’s also important Bowel Scope screening be introduced into the national screening programme as soon as possible.
“There are over 200 different types of cancer and their symptoms can differ from person to person, so it is a good idea to get to know your body and what is normal for you. If you notice any persistent or unusual changes get them checked out with your doctor. It may not be cancer – but if it is – an early diagnosis could make a huge difference.”