Toodyay cancer patient urges others to share their stories in the name of early detection

Toodyay cancer patient urges others to share their stories in the name of early detection.

If you notice something isn’t right, get it checked out.

This article was written by Eliza Wynn and was published in the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate on 3 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 – 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.

“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 stories will be included on the new Find Cancer Early website, which already has nineteen 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,” she said

“Even more importantly, if you ever have blood in your pee or poo, or cough up blood, it’s essential you don’t ignore it – see your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker straight away.”

“Ignoring the warning signs can allow cancer to spread and make treatment more difficult and reduce the chances of survival, so the quicker you can react to potential symptoms the better your chance of successful treatment.”

If you’ve had prostate, breast, skin, bowel or lung cancer and you’d like to share your story, visit the new Find Cancer Early website

For confidential cancer-related information and support call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

Cancer Council WA’s Find Cancer Early awareness campaign was developed as part of a research initiative by Cancer Council WA and the University of Western Australia to address the poorer outcomes faced by regional cancer patients.