Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day: MLA shares his story

East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has spoken about his personal health battle on Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day (January 11).

The Alliance representative shared his experience of oesophageal cancer in support of the campaign.

Mr Dickson said: “I am extraordinarily fortunate, that without lifesaving chemotherapy and major surgery, I would not be a survivor. However, with survival rates of less survivable cancers being so low, the significance of raising their public profile is not lost on me.

“Tragically, the six less survivable cancers have an average five-year survival rate of only 16%. What’s more, these six cancers account for approximately 40% of all cancer deaths, and more than 90,000 people are diagnosed in the UK every year.”

Stewart Dickson MLA.

Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day aims to raise the profile of six cancer types: lung, pancreas, liver, brain, stomach and oesophagus.

Formed by charities supporting patients who have these cancers, the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce is calling for them to be prioritised in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Dickson continued: “These cancers can be very difficult to diagnose, especially early on because there is little public awareness of their symptoms. It is crucial we change this, as only with early diagnosis and treatment, can we hope to improve survival rates.

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“As a cancer survivor, I am in an unenviably club of people who know how important early diagnosis and treatment is when faced with a less survivable cancer. Today is an excellent opportunity to get that message out into the public domain, and increase survival rates.”