Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day took place on the 11 January this year, the Brain Tumour Charity reports. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the diagnosis and treatment paths for the rarer forms of cancer, and ultimately raise the survival rates within the next 10 years.
The six least survivable cancers include brain tumours, along with lung cancer, liver cancer, oesophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer. All of these cancers have a five year survival rate of just 16%, and together they account for almost half of all cancer deaths in the UK.
However, the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) is aiming to increase survival rates to 28% by 2029. A major part of this is raising awareness of symptoms and encouraging people not to delay seeking treatment.
Anna Jewell, Chair of the LSCT, said: “It is deeply concerning that most of the general public are unaware of common symptoms of less survivable cancers. It’s one of the many challenges that we’re facing in the fight against these deadly diseases.”
She added: “All of the less survivable cancers are difficult to diagnose. Screening programmes are limited or non-existent and treatment options are falling far behind those for more-survivable but equally common cancers.”
“We’re also calling on all UK governments to commit to increasing survival rates for less survivable cancers to 28% by 2029 by delivering on their commitments to speed up diagnosis and proactively investing in research and treatment options.”
The Brain Tumour Trust is working with the LSCT in order to help people recognise the signs and symptoms of a brain tumour earlier on. In adults aged 18 and over, the most common symptoms include headaches, changes in vision, seizures, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and loss of taste and smell.
It is important to note that brain tumours are rare, and these symptoms could have another underlying cause. However, the earlier a brain tumour is diagnosed, the more treatable and therefore survivable it is. Anyone with persistent symptoms is advised to contact their GP.
Another route you could try is booking an eye test, especially if you are experiencing changes in vision. However, not all types of tumour are detectable from an eye test, but they are useful as they can pick up a tumour before any other noticeable symptoms develop.
When you go for your GP or optician appointment, it’s advisable to write down what they say, so that you don’t forget any points. It’s also a good idea to prepare any questions you may have in advance, as sometimes the stress of the occasion can cause forgetfulness.
For example, it may be helpful to ask if they think anything else could be causing your symptoms, and if they have any advice for managing them. Ask if they think it is possible that you have a brain tumour, and if you need to make another appointment.
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