Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day 2023

11th January 2023

Guts UK is a founding charity member of the Less Survivable Taskforce (LSCT). The LSCT was set up by a group of charities all aiming to double survival rates of the six less survivable cancers by 2029. These are stomach, oesophageal, pancreatic, liver, brain & lung cancer, with an average five-year survival rate of just 16%.

The less survivable cancers have been neglected and underfunded for decades. Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day 2023 highlights the critical importance of symptom awareness in improving survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with these cancers. 

Less survivable cancers are difficult to diagnose. Screening programmes are limited or non-existent and most of the general public are unaware of common symptoms.

A UK-wide survey carried out by the LSCT and released today has found that awareness of the symptoms of these deadliest cancers is dangerously low across the country. Only 1% of respondents were able to correctly identify all symptoms of liver cancer from a list presented to them. Symptom awareness for oesophageal cancer stood at just 2% and stomach cancers at 3%.

The LSCT is calling for all UK governments to commit to increasing survival rates for less survivable cancers to 28% by 2029 by eliminating avoidable delays in diagnosis and proactively investing in research and treatment options.

On Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day (11th January), we will be at Portcullis House, Westminster alongside families affected by these cancers. We’ll be highlighting the discrepancy in survival rates for these cancers, and calling for government cancer policies and plans to include specific actions to improve outcomes for those with less survivable cancers. Gill, who lost her husband Tony to stomach cancer will be helping us raise awareness amongst MPs by sharing Tony’s story:

“My husband was 63, a fit, healthy, daily dog walker who had not been to see a doctor for at least 7 years. Seven months on from his first symptoms, and after many visits to his GP, my husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Tony never drank much, he ate well and had never smoked. We thought Tony may have a stomach ulcer, and now we were having to process that his prognosis was 18 months at most, or 6 months if he doesn’t respond to chemotherapy.

I want Tony’s story to be his legacy. Why don’t healthcare professionals look at the worst potential outcome and work backwards? In the short term, we must raise all GP’s awareness of stomach cancer symptoms and enable them to act promptly. Early diagnosis is absolutely crucial for stomach cancer.

I can only hope that with robust research conducted by charities like Guts UK, the UK can develop a screening programme for digestive cancers.” – Gill, sharing Tony’s story.

Research into the deadliest digestive cancers is a priority for Guts UK. We're funding research aiming to diagnose these cancers earlier, and save lives. Please donate today. Thank you.

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