Local MP, Robert Largan, is backing the first Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day to highlight the critical importance of early diagnosis in improving survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with these cancers.
The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) represents six less survivable cancers—lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach—with an average five-year survival rate of just 16 per cent. Together, these less survivable cancers make up nearly half of all common cancer deaths in the UK.
The LSCT is urging everyone to be aware of the symptoms of these deadly cancers, and to seek medical help at the earliest opportunity if they recognise any of the signs.
Typical symptoms will vary but red flags for less survivable cancers could include any of the following: indigestion, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, a loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, a persistent cough, unexplained tiredness, headaches or nausea. The key message is to seek medical help swiftly if you notice anything is unusual for you.
Since being elected, Mr Largan has consistently campaigned for improved access to cancer diagnosis services and treatment, including successfully campaigning for the reinstatement of the breast cancer mobile screening unit to Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, and New Mills.
The mobile screening unit was withdrawn in 2020 due to the pandemic, meaning that women were asked to travel to Bakewell or Chesterfield instead. The extra distance meant that many women were unable to make their screening appointment.
In response, Mr Largan launched a petition calling for the mobile screening unit to be reinstated, which over 2,000 local people signed.
The High Peak MP also led a debate in Parliament to make the case for reinstatement directly to the Health Minister, and secured a public commitment that breast screening would be brought back to the High Peak by July 2021.
This commitment was kept and the screening unit has now been reinstated.
Robert Largan, MP for High Peak, commented:
“This is an issue close to my heart. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer.
“Early diagnosis is key to improving the life chances for thousands of people across the country, and I am proud to have successfully campaigned to reinstate the breast cancer mobile screening unit to Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, and New Mills.
“Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day is a really important cause. I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak out for people with less survivable cancers and support the first Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day.”
Anna Jewell, Chair of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, commented:
“We are delighted that Robert Largan MP is supporting the first Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day.
“We know that delays in diagnosis lead to much poorer outcomes for patients with these rapidly advancing cancers. We also know the trauma associated with receiving a diagnosis in an emergency setting for both patients and families.
“These cancers are currently difficult or impossible to treat at later stages and the time from diagnosis to death is often brutally short compared to more survivable cancers. The situation is critical and has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Taskforce is calling for a significant increase in research funding as well as a commitment to increasing resources for early diagnosis for less survivable cancers and I’d like to thank Robert Largan MP for supporting our calls and helping us to close the deadly cancer gap.”