A CANCER awareness campaign is on the look out for volunteers to champion its early detection message.
The Be Cancer Aware campaign, co-ordinated by Albion in the Community in partnership with Adur and Worthing wellbeing, focuses on educating people about the symptoms of breast, lung, prostate and bowel cancers.
Four years ago, Ernest Vye, 79, of Roman Way, Southwick, went to watch Brighton play at their old Withdean Stadium when he was handed a leaflet by an Albion in the Community volunteer. Ernest noticed he had a couple of the symptoms mentioned on the leaflet associated with bowel cancer, which prompted him to visit his GP. Shortly after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer but, luckily, he had caught it early.
Ernest said: “I had been retired for many years at that point. I was very active, my hobby was hiking, only two years before I had cancer we hiked across the Grand Canyon. In my view, I was very fit, but I wasn’t really checking my body.
“If I hadn’t taken a leaflet I probably wouldn’t have found the tumour.”
Since his diagnosis, Ernest has joined the Be Cancer Aware campaign as a volunteer, attending workshops and delivering talks across Adur and Worthing.
Over the last four years, he has had six operations – the most recent of which was four weeks ago, however, he described himself as ‘fit, strong, happy and healthy’.
“There is life after cancer. We want people to be positive,” he said.
“I believe we have a wonderful NHS, but they don’t stand a chance unless these things are caught fairly early. The message I’m trying to give is, ‘Don’t be daft. You have got one life look after it’.”
Sue Brown, Albion in the Community health co-ordinator in West Sussex, said a lots of people in the area were not aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, which has lead to an increase in the number of acute admissions to hospital.
She said: “The older generation seem to think ‘we don’t want to bother the doctor’, but the earlier you can catch it the better.
We work with a team of volunteers, some have had cancer themselves, some haven’t, but they all have the same attitude that early detection is important.”
Recent workshops have included a visit to Durrington High School and the Holmbush Centre – complete with a 20 ft tall inflatable colon.
“We go out into the local community and talk to people about what they should be looking out for,” said Sue. “Our volunteers are ideally positioned to tell people why they need to be aware and look after their own health.
To find out more about volunteering, contact Sue via Sue.Brown@albioninthecommunity.org.uk or call 07880 195 516.