Sunday, 19 February 2012

Why I want us all to detect cancer early........

Hurrah I managed out today for a small foray around the local market. February sun in Edinburgh was sneakily deceptive but uplifting. Avocado hummus, sea bass, cheese and wonderful fudge purchases later and I returned home shaky but more optimistic of recovery. Not sure my purse will  recover however! A few days ago I had gone back to the GP ,who is consistently supportive and constructive , and was given treatment for an atypical infection and more steroids for asthma which finally seem to be working finally.  The size of the antibiotics is such that I questioned the mode of delivery(!) but as oral was the only one I was willing to consider, I am swallowing them ...eventually. My recent illness has awakened the demons of worry but my glimmers of recovery are helping to allay some of them. No one reading my blog could fail to see the impact of any cancer diagnosis no matter how early, but I will recover from this and my first experience taught me that this too will pass. Although my early diagnosis in my 30's was terrifying and did set me back , a stage 1 tumour treated with good evidenced based treatment and care means I am still fighting on many years later. My survival has meant I have seen my children grow up and become the fine people they are; bright, value based, committed , wise and loving. I couldn't be more proud of them. I have seen my step daughters' girls grow taller and prettier, with promise of much to come. We have shared many happy times and savoured them too. And I hope for many still to come. So why am I saying this today? It's because this week is the launch of the Detect Cancer Early campaign and I should have been there to help launch it but as I am still unwell ,I have had to concede defeat. I know it won't flounder without me but I would so love to have loaned my voice to the importance of this campaign. This of course for me is personal in a way. I am so fortunate but I also want that for everyone else, so its professional too.  Breakthrough Breast Cancer is committed to early detection as a key part of our strategy. We know that without this all of our other good work , researching and identifying personalised diagnosis and treatment could be in vain.We developed our award winning TLC and the http://ibreastcheck.com/ to enable women to know what to look for, how to touch , look and check with their doctor if worried and also with reminders of when because we know it can save lives. And many of the other cancer charities are as passionate about early diagnosis as we are, knowing how important this is to all our supporters. This detect cancer early campaign also wants to ensure people understand the benefits of early diagnosis and to understand that they won't be wasting a doctors time if they tell them about any concerns they may have. Not only do people need the information of what to look for but they do need to act on their concerns. And doctors also need to be fully informed and refer appropriately.  So it's a complex process of behaviours, processes, beliefs and services that allow cancer to be detected early. This initial campaign is an important first step. So this blog is my sofa bound way of supporting its aspirations and my way of doing what I can to disseminate these important messages. Do support it too however you can. Check out the Scottish government website for more details this week. Reasons to be cheerful have been hazy at times this week as I have coughed,wheezed and struggled to sleep. But I hope that as the week progresses my strength will return. The fabulous Breakthrough team plan another karaoke night at the end of the week to say a fond farewell to a team member. I do hope to go but I think it will be Barry White or Johnny Cash numbers for me! Oh and I am through to the final for the Institute of Directors award of Female Director of the Year. But more of that next time. But do you think I need a new dress?

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