A Liverpool drama practitioner is helping to launch a new, year long campaign to raise awareness of cancer prevention and service innovation across Merseyside and Cheshire.
Allan Williams (59) from Liverpool, has lent his support to the ‘Year of Action on Cancer’ campaign which was launched by NHS Merseyside with NHS Cheshire Warrington and Wirral at the Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre to educate residents on all aspects of cancer from prevention, early detection, research and innovation and treatment available in the region.
Cancer is the biggest cause of death in all parts of Merseyside and Cheshire, with breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers accounting for over 90 per cent of all new cases diagnosed.
Allan has firsthand experience with cancer and the services available in the region. He said: “The Year of Action on Cancer campaign is a great way to highlight all aspects of cancer and the importance of early detection, research and clinical trials which are going on in the region.
“I was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in September 2007, I had put tiredness and IBS symptoms down to the stress of travelling to see my sick mother. However, when I noticed bleeding I immediately visited the doctor who referred me to a consultant where I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Five months later, after treatment for the cancer I visited the specialist for a routine scan, this was when doctors found secondary cancer in my liver.
"After two liver resections to remove portions of my liver I am delighted to say two years on I am now in remission.
“Having undertaken clinical trials throughout my treatment, it is vitally important for people in the region to work together to ensure treatment can be improved to save more lives. Being diagnosed with cancer doesn’t have to be a life sentence, due to bowel cancer not having any real symptoms in early stages it is very important for people to get checked out as soon as possible if they have any concerns.”
Heading up the campaign, Gideon Ben-Tovim, Chair of NHS Merseyside and Kathy Cowell DL, Chair of NHS Cheshire Warrington and Wirral said: “We are delighted to be launching the Year of Action On Cancer campaign. With Merseyside and Cheshire’s incidence of new cancers and mortality rate being higher than the national average, this year long campaign is an ideal opportunity to highlight all aspects of cancer and raise awareness of the importance of early detection and the significant investments which are being made to services and treatment in the region.”
Merseyside and Cheshire have seen a number of new innovative services and equipment launches in the region in the past year.
- The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, one of the UK’s largest NHS specialist cancer treatment facilities, has recently celebrated the first anniversary of its satellite facility at Aintree.
- The arrival of the UK’s very first Novalis TX treatment machine, for precise and painless brain tumour treatment, at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Liverpool
- The region-wide Cancer iVAN offering mobile information, screening and consultation on all aspects of cancer in the heart of the communities
One Wirral resident who has benefitted from the Cancer iVAN was Irene Heard, 69, a retired mum of four. Irene was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2011 following a visit to the St Helens Classic Car Show where the Cancer iVAN was doing its rounds. She explained: “Having noticed a mole on my back I visited the iVAN to ask for advice. It was then that I was asked about checking my breasts for lumps, having not checked for a while, that night I was shocked to find a lump in my left breast. A few days later I visited the doctor and was referred for tests, it was then I was told the lump was breast cancer. In just a couple of weeks I was checked into hospital where I had the lymph glands and lump removed. Nearly six months on I have now finished all treatment and just need to visit the centre for checkups throughout the year.
“I hate to think what may have happened if I had not visited the Cancer iVAN that day, by detecting the cancer early I was able to undergo treatment and have the cancer removed before it spread further. I would recommend that anyone who is concerned about a lump should voice their worries and visit their doctor as soon as possible.”