It’s such a small word, but it means so many things to so many different people. That’s why, when local charity Big C asked me to be part of this summer’s #CancerConversations campaign, I immediately said yes.
It’s only when I came to writing this post that I realised I don’t know where to begin. How can I cover such a broad topic in a single blog post?
But maybe that’s the point. I don’t imagine there are many people out there that haven’t been affected by cancer in some way, so it’s good to talk about it in our own way; speaking about cancer in a way that’s comfortable to us.
By talking about it, we can all learn more, not just about what it is, but the research into it and the support that’s available – not only for patients but for their family and loved ones.
As such, in the spirit of conversations, I’ve decided to have a chat with myself…
When were you first aware of cancer?
I guess when I was a child; when I was around nine or ten I remember Newsround reporting that Record Breakers presenter Roy Castle had died of lung cancer (yep – I’m that old!). I guess I didn’t really understand what it meant at the time, but it’s certainly a memory that’s stayed with me.
Do you talk about cancer?
I’ve been lucky that no one in my immediate family has had the disease, but several friends’ parents have and each of them has handled it in different ways. Some people don’t want to talk about it at all (menfolk in particular), while others want to talk about the treatment their loved ones are experiencing or need work out what it means and what could happen.
Has anything surprised you about cancer?
A few years ago friend discovered that she had a form of skin cancer. Just 30 years old, she had a mole that didn’t look right on her leg, which was diagnosed as cancerous. Thankfully she received swift treatment and has made a full recovery, but it was a wake-up call for me; until that point it was just something I read about in magazines and didn’t happen to people like me. Only older people needed to be aware of the signs. Since then I’ve been more mindful of the symptoms and preventative steps I can take.
This summer Big C is urging everyone, especially young people and men, to talk about cancer. Not only can you join the conversation using the hashtag #CancerConversations on social media, or drop them a DM, but you can contact their local support centres in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Gorleston for advice and support.
From counselling to complementary therapies and welfare service, Big C provides free support to patients and their families in the community.
Get in touch with your local centre today
Norwich – 01603 286112 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Yarmouth – 01493 855297 or email@example.com
King’s Lynn – 01553 818737 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Louise Hamilton Centre, Gorleston – 01493 453100
If you’d like to support the Big C, a donation of just £3 – less than the price of a pint at your local – can make a real difference.
Simply text BIGC1 to 70660 to make a donation.