St. John's Ambulance had already experienced the incredible multiplying effects of catching the Internet's eye with their controversial advert showing a father survive cancer only to choke to death in front of his young daughter with a tag line explaining that first aid could prevent 140,000 deaths a year...
As a society, we like our news fast and our solutions faster, but this week delivered a reminder that problems that made front-page news years back can make for positive updates a decade or so later (albeit hidden on page 23 of the paper). Teen pregnancies are a case in point. Oft-used as the (im)perfect example of 'Broken Britain', it was announced this week that girls aged between 15 and 19 are today half as likely as their grandmothers to become pregnant.
We're talking about actual human beings existing in the twilight of grief and primal fear that comes with cancer. And if a lung, bowel, or pancreatic cancer patient feels, in that horrific state of mind, that it'd be easier to have a more socially acceptable cancer like breast cancer... We can't judge that. What are we doing, policing the private fears of terminally ill people now?
Charities play a vital role in raising awareness of early diagnosis and hard-hitting campaigns can be effective in this aim. However, charities do have a choice about how to do this, considering the thoughts and feelings of many who could be affected. Yes it has got people talking but at the expense of distress to others and I am not convinced that is a fair or necessary price to pay.
While I was undergoing treatment a good friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died within a matter of months, before I finished my treatment. I had not heard much about pancreatic cancer before, and it put my own situation in perspective: I could receive and complete treatment! I was given a life chance beyond cancer.
I was stunned last week to learn that shift workers who work through the night face an increased risk of breast cancer. This includes our emergency services, nurses and care workers, as well as call centre and airline staff.