From the beginning I was determined to make it a safe and friendly environment for women who had been diagnosed with womb cancer to come together and find comfort and support; a place where they could talk together and help each other through the tough times and also celebrate the good times – the good test results and the all clears. Being on the cancer rollercoaster means there are up’s as well as down’s and it’s important to celebrate the good times as they sometimes appear few and far between.
From the outset it became apparent that there was a lack of awareness about womb cancer. Indeed many of us, myself included, had never heard of it before being diagnosed.
So raising awareness became just as important as supporting those diagnosed and since then they have been the dual focus of what WCSUK does.
Over the past 5 years we have posted out over 5,000 awareness leaflets – these have been put in GP surgeries; health centres; libraries; clinics’ pharmacists; gyms; coffee shops and even in the ladies loo at a nightclub. In the absence of a national awareness campaign we have been working hard to get the word out and reach out to women across the UK.
It’s very much a grassroots approach – the women who are part of the support group are in most part, the ones who are helping to distribute the leaflets and are also handing our contact cards to their CNS’s and GP's so our details can be passed on to other newly diagnosed women.
The awareness is important because we need to reach out to all women as we know that womb cancer can affect women of all ages – the youngest we are aware of were just 19 when diagnosed. This is not just a cancer that affects post-menopausal women.
Making women aware of the risk factors is the most important factor in trying to prevent womb cancer and that has to be a priority. It is far better to try and prevent womb cancer than have women think they are not at risk and that it’s never going to happen to them, and then find out it does. Womb cancer is the 4th most common female cancer and more women are diagnosed with it than either cervical or ovarian cancer; it is the most common gynaecological cancer and sadly there are many women who don't know about it until it is too late.
I am not a scientist and therefore the in’s and out’s of cancer research is beyond me – I’ll leave that to the researchers and guys in white coats. I do what I can to support those who have been diagnosed – just like I was in Dec. 2009. I know what it felt like then and I know just how a cancer diagnosis affects the whole of your life.
That’s why I do what I do now and I have the support of a wonderful bunch of ladies who also know what it’s like to go through it. We all want to do what we can to raise awareness so that other women don’t have to go through what we have.
So as we approach another womb cancer awareness month we will do as much as we can to spread the word about womb cancer and hope that we can make enough noise and that women across the UK will hear what we have to say.
xx Kaz xx