Today and every day we all need to keep raising awareness and make sure that cancer never leaves the headlines.
Current statistics say that by 2020 1 in 2 people will be affected by cancer – that’s 50% of the population. Just hold that thought in your head for a moment. If you haven’t already been diagnosed then there is a high probability that you might be.
There are things that can be done to lessen your risk of getting cancer – stopping smoking and drinking; eating healthily and getting exercise but sometimes even the healthiest and fittest people succumb to cancer! If you believe some newspaper articles you might think it was all down to your genes or just “bad luck” but whatever the reason – and there are many complex ones – getting a cancer diagnosis can be a devastating and life changing event.
Getting the right support to help you through your cancer journey can sometimes be hard, especially if you live in an isolated or rural community.
This is where social media has a real role to play in helping bring people together to help them through the tough times.
Many cancers have specific issues that affect patients and very often a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t always work. There are many support groups up and down the country, and online, that support specific cancers and these provide a real lifeline to many cancer patients – and often their families aswell.
When I was diagnosed at the end of 2009 there was no specific womb cancer support out there so when I started Womb Cancer Support UK in April 2011, I was determined to make it as open and available as possible.
Now, as we approach our 5th Birthday the organisation has grown beyond what I ever imagined. There are over 2,000 likers on the Facebook page and the website is currently getting around 750 hits every week.
The 100 or so women who are part of the private chat group we have, support each other and are so welcoming when a newly diagnosed lady joins – very often they are in total shock after getting a diagnosis. The ladies offer practical advice and much needed support. After all, we all remember what it felt like when we heard those awful words, no matter how many years ago it may have been.
The support goes hand in hand with the awareness raising we do. Sadly, even though womb cancer is 4th most common female cancer in UK there is no national awareness campaign, and currently no plans for one, from either the UK government or devolved nations.
So we have been working hard over the past few years to raise much needed awareness and so far almost 2,000 of our womb cancer awareness leaflets have gone out around the UK. They can be found in GP surgeries; health centres; pharmacists; libraries; gyms; clinics and even the ladies loo in a nightclub!
Some of our lovely ladies have told their story, either on our website via the blog or to their local papers – some have even been in national media. It all helps to raise the profile of womb cancer and get the word out that it’s a cancer that can affect women of all ages – it’s not just something that affects post-menopausal women.
We have several women who have come to us having been diagnosed in their 20’s and 30’s and this is something that we are trying hard to get out – womb cancer can affect any woman, regardless of her age.
We have a lot more work to do – both in raising awareness and supporting the increasing numbers of women who have been diagnosed – but we’re up for it. I have a group of lovely ladies around me who are as dedicated to the cause as I am and together we will continue to work tirelessly for the greater good.
xx Kaz xx