"I was diagnosed with womb cancer in January 2012 having had a terrible few months with symptoms. At the time of my diagnosis, I was told that I was in the minority in that I was under the age of 60 and fit; my hobby is running and I ran 5 marathons in 2011, the last one being just before my symptoms started.
I have since found out that I am not really in the minority. I have, through WCSUK, been in contact with women much younger than I.
Last year, shortly after my radiotherapy finished, I took part in a Race for Life where a cancer survivor stood up on the stage and spoke about her experience of breast cancer. I said to my friends that I would want to do that this year. So a few months ago I contacted Cancer Research UK Race for Life and asked about speaking at their Hyde Park event. They agreed and it was arranged for me to speak before both the 10k and 5k races.
So this morning, I arrived nice and early (8am) and found I was due to speak at 8.08am but they seemed to be a bit disorganised; the sound checks hadn't been run at that point. One of the organisers came to me a while later and explained that they were running behind time and would like to concentrate my efforts before the 5k race after I had run the 10k. Hmmmmmmmm!
There was a lot of nothing going on at the time but I suppose these things happen eh? I did point out that, because of the heat, I would probably take longer than I thought originally and asked to be scheduled as late as possible; I can't run in the heat at all and really suffer. I was told that would be ok.
Off I went and I struggled round the race; it felt like I was melting at times! As soon as I finished, I headed back to the stage where I was told, again, that they were running behind schedule. I was told they would like me to speak at the start of the race and that I would be taken down there just beforehand. I was starting to feel a bit like the poor relative by this time.
A little while later, one of the organisers came and got me and I went behind the barrier and then she instantly disappeared! I waited for a good 15 minutes and she didn't return. I was getting slightly hacked off by this time so I decided to just walk away.
I am quite hurt that this happened to me. I have been looking forward to today and getting the message out about womb cancer. This was a chance to reach around 15,000 women at the same time across the two races and I feel very let down.
There were a couple of key messages I wanted to get across.
There are several conditions that make a woman pre-disposed to womb cancer (being overweight, being childless, being diabetic, being unfit and being over 60). I was none of these. So I wanted to get the message across that this is a cancer that can strike ANYONE at ANY time of their lives.
From experience, some women are under the impression that their cervical smear would detect womb cancer but this is not the case. The only time it would detect it would be if it had already spread to the cervix.
I also wanted to point out that womb cancer is on the rise and that obesity could be a factor going forward as the extra fat in our bodies causes oestrogen-like hormones to be produced and womb cancer is mainly hormone receptive.
Now, I consider those messages are vital for the women in this country. There is no awareness campaign going on and there are no plans for any in the near future so ANYTHING that can be done to bring this disease to the forefront should be done.
Womb cancer is considered one of the rarer cancers so I am wondering if the Race for Life organisers just didn't think it was worth the airtime. How does that make me feel? It makes me feel that possibly my cancer has been discounted. If you think about it, the main colour of anything Race for Life is pink. That is the colour associated with breast cancer. Do they see that as a more worthy cancer to promote? I certainly hope not.
All in all, I have been left with a nasty taste in my mouth. My cancer was just as important as any other cancer. At the end of the day, cancer is cancer and to get that diagnosis is devastating. It denotes the end of life as you know it and a new life going forward. One that has you wondering if 'it' is going to return. One where you possibly have to life with side effects of treatment, as I and many other of my peach sisters have.
And I now find myself wondering if I will bother with Race for Life again. After all, they couldn't be bothered about me could they?"