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A Young Ambassador’s reflections on the first Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day

Madelaine Powell, one of our Young Ambassadors, wrote about her thoughts ahead of the first ever Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day on 11 January 2022.

As the 11 January 2022 marks the first ever Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day, it epitomises the incredible progress the six charities involved have made, but also the work that still needs to be done in tackling the odds posed by lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic, and stomach cancers. 

The shock of a cancer diagnosis can completely turn the lives of those diagnosed and their loved ones upside down, and this stress can be further affected by the statistics posed by the six less survivable cancers. 

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of under 40s, and with only 40% of those diagnosed with a high grade brain tumour likely to live more than one year after diagnosis, the awareness and funding are completely disproportionate to the devastating impact they create. 

Drawing upon personal experience, my Mum, Susan, was diagnosed with an oligodendroglioma tumour when I was just six months old. We are incredibly grateful that she continues to beat the odds more than 20 years after first diagnosis, but are also painfully aware that this is not the reality for the majority. 

I find the stress my parents faced with a brain tumour diagnosis and young baby simply incomprehensible, but unfortunately this is just one scenario in a sea of countless others people face in similar conditions. A brain tumour diagnosis brings almost constant insecurity towards those diagnosed – or a loved one’s – future, and too often denies people of just that. 

The statistics for survival rates, diagnosis times and general quality of life can be challenging to address and accept, with the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce founded upon the intention to reject and improve them. 

The Brain Tumour Charity work passionately and relentlessly to impact the harm brain tumours pose, and we as a family have valued the opportunity to be involved with their events and fundraising for over eight years. 

In the last year I have become a Young Ambassador for The Brain Tumour Charity, which has offered me the invaluable opportunity to become more directly involved, widen my knowledge around brain tumours, and meet a community of people with the same goals. Incredible progress continues to be made, however the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce offers unprecedented cooperation towards a common goal of increasing awareness and driving change.

How you can get involved

Firstly you can familiarise yourself with the symptoms of the six cancers, which can be found on the LSCT website here.

Secondly, you can write to your local politician (MP/MSP/MS/MLA) to encourage them to get involved today and help raise awareness, there is a template letter available on the LSCT website here. You can copy and paste the letter below to an email, add your personal details, and a paragraph about your personal experiences if you have been affected by one of these cancers. Then send it to your representative.

Thirdly, you can help us by sharing social media posts from The Brain Tumour Charity and LSCT social media across the day in order to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms and the need for action, and to reach as many people as possible.

Thank you so much if you choose to take any of these actions, we really appreciate your involvement in helping us raise awareness of brain tumours as part of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce.