Patient urges sharing of cancer story.
Speaking up and sharing your story could be the push your friend, workmate or neighbour needs to stop putting off getting a potential cancer symptom checked it could quite literally save their life.
This article was written by Eliza Wynn and published in the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate on 10 April 2019
CANCER Council WA is searching for regional West Australians over 40 years of age to share their cancer story to encourage others not to ignore symptoms.
Research reveals regional West Australians are 20 to 30 per cent more likely to die within five years of a cancer diagnosis than those in Perth in part because of a low awareness of early symptoms and delays in seeking medical attention.
Cancer Council WA regional education officer Melissa Pickering said the organisation’s Find Cancer Early campaign aims to tackle the issue, and personal stories are powerful tools to get the message across.
“Speaking up and sharing your story could be the push your friend, workmate or neighbour needs to stop putting off getting a potential cancer symptom checked it could quite literally save their life,” Ms Pickering said.
“The earlier cancer is found, the better your treatment outcomes can be, so it’s vital you know what to look out for and see your doctor, clinic nurse, or Aboriginal health worker when something’s not right.”
The stories will be included on the Find Cancer Early website, which already has 19 champions from across the state.
One of those stories is from Terry in Toodyay, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018.
“If you notice something isn’t right, get it checked out,” Terry said.
“You’re not bulletproof. Never smoke. It was part of our culture in those days.
“These days people catch up over a cup of coffee, in our day it was a cigarette”.
Ms Pickering said common reasons given by regional cancer patients for not seeking medical attention sooner was being too busy, assuming the changes are a normal part of aging, and concerns about discussing symptoms.
“If you’re over 40 and experience any of the following for more than four weeks – problems peeing; looser poo; unexplained weight loss; any unusual pain, lumps or swelling; a persistent cough or breathlessness – get it checked out,” Ms Pickering said.