Cancer survey is one resolution worth making and not breaking

MADE a New Year resolution but broke it before the Christmas decorations came down?

Gen and David

Now, as part of a Greater Manchester wide initiative, Saddleworth residents are asked to undertake promises to themselves and stick with it to save lives.

Former nurse Gen Buckley from Delph has lost her brother Phil Hynes and dad Mike to cancer. David Makin from Dobcross is a survivor of the disease.

Around 16,000 people across in Greater Manchester are diagnosed with cancer every year.

But survival rates are better for people with earlier stage concerns. 

Early detection of the disease not only saves lives as well as saving money for the National Health Service

Now an online survey, to gather public views about what is important in detecting cancer earlier, has been launched by scientists at the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.

Patients, their carers and the public can suggest new areas that scientists can research to detect cancer early.   

Now, Gen and David, members of the Detecting Cancer Early PSP, are urging the public to take the survey to help save lives.  

Gen with dad Mike and brother Phil in the mid 1990s

Gen’s brother Phil died aged 46 in March 2018, within nine months of diagnosis, leaving a wife and two young children.  

Dad Mike, a former business studies lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, lived with cancer for five years, before dying aged 63 in 2000.  

“Had the cancers been caught early they might well still have been here,” explained Gen.

“My dad had never had a day off sick in his life. My brother didn’t have any symptoms until a couple of months before he was diagnosed. 

“He thought he had salmonella from being on holiday.

“We have to educate people that the earlier you go the better. 

“People never think it’s going to happen to them. I can still not believe it happened to my brother and dad.

“Don’t underestimate any observations and suggestions even seemingly small things can make a huge difference.   

“Ten minutes spent filling in the survey could lead to more effective ways of finding the disease earlier.”

David, who has been treated for laryngeal cancer, is chair of Saddleworth and Lees Health and Wellbeing Group.

“It is essential you have early detection but that calls into question two things: the awareness of the general public and the diagnostic skills of GPs,” he said.

“You can’t treat something until you have a diagnosis.

“We need to encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle as possible which can impact on the possibility of getting cancer.

“It is alright telling people to have a healthy lifestyle but it is difficult if you are stressed out or in a low paid job.

“You don’t necessarily want to come home cooking healthy food which maybe you can’t afford.

“You have got to try to find out what people want to know.

“How you can interest them? How you can encourage them? And how you can take away the stigma of cancer so they want to go to the doctors and check themselves out. 

“There are lot of tests making it easier to detect cancer. But that still assumes people go to have the test. Get involved in your own destiny.”

After the survey closes on February 28 all suggestions will be reviewed and the top 10 list of unanswered research questions agreed at a workshop involving patients, carers, healthcare professionals and public.   

The survery can be found online:

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