Like almost everybody, cancer has touched the lives of people I know and love. A much loved family member owes her wellbeing to the skill of her surgeons, new cancer drugs, and support and information from a Cancer Council interstate. Another younger family member survives his brain cancer, but the anxiety each time tests are scheduled impacts on him and his young family. Some have not survived their cancers. My wonderful father died of his lung cancer at age 56 - the undisputed result of a life time of smoking tobacco. Another loved family member died at 48 after years of smoking. The impact on the immediate and extended families cannot be overstated.
But cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival has improved enormously since these deaths 30 and nearly 20 years ago.
Thank goodness for our Cancer Council here in the ACT. Through its advocacy on behalf of cancer patients (and future patients) it seeks to reduce the impact of cancer in our community. Through its education on lifestyle and cancer determinants such as tobacco and protecting skin cancer, Cancer Council ACT can and does influence the incidences of some cancers. It supports patients and their carers as treatment is undertaken and importantly I think, it engages with the wider community to fundraise for research and to grow and maintain support, education other services.
We all look forward to a time when cancer becomes history.
My contribution to Cancer Council ACT is small, but I hope it is of value and for me the real heroes are the cancer patients, their carers, the supporting medical and health professionals and the fundraisers. It's why I do what I do.