There are many connotations around cancer; that it affects old people and middle aged women. That women only really get breast cancer. That teenagers can't get cancer. However seven young people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every day. That's over 2,500 new cases every year, and these statistics don't include relapses of illness.
Would you like to know what I have learned? Maybe, just maybe, there is a certain strength in weakness. Anyone who has had a family member with Cancer knows very well that this disease will push you to - and beyond - your emotional limits. But maybe such pain is a reality we must all be prepared to experience in some form?
The previous Government set a measly target to bring the UK up to the average survival rates for Europe; an increase of just 3% after 5 years. How can we achieve a breakthrough in the battle against cancer when our aim is to do no better than other countries are already doing? And meanwhile, other countries are probably investing more, setting more ambitious targets and forging even further ahead.
For many, these fears don't evaporate when they finish treatment. We spoke to post-cancer patients and found that nearly a third (30%*) felt under pressure to 'bounce back' more quickly that they would have liked after treatment. For more than a quarter (28%) the expected 'euphoria' of being given the 'all clear' was actually replaced by the fact they simply felt 'emotionally drained'.
The C-word is already the disease we're most scared of, and the one we (think we) know most about. Just take any hypochondriac you know, and how many times per month they self-diagnose with a terminal illness. Cancer symptoms are vague and unspecific in young people (the top culprits are persistent and unexplained pain, lumps, bumps or swelling; significant weight loss; extreme tiredness; changes in a mole)...
Listening to the news about NICE turning down yet another cancer drug has made me very sad and a little puzzled. In the space of 10 days two new drugs - Kadcyla and Abiraterone, that would give valuable extra time to breast and prostate cancer sufferers respectively, have been refused because of cost.