What a difference a week makes.
What a difference a week makes.
I have just had one of the busiest weeks since I started working for this wonderful organisation. We have had some illustrious visitors around the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre, including a couple of local MP’s ; hosted some of our Media students filming in the centre for various projects and dissertations and the centre has been involved in the debate around a set of startling and terrifying new statistics about cancer.
Cancer Research UK announced this week that 1 in 2 of us will develop some sort of cancer in our lifetime. This concentrates the mind somewhat; the previous figure of 1 in 3 was bad enough but to learn that over 50% of us will face that stark announcement of the ‘C word’ from a consultant is really pretty dreadful. I am one of 3 sisters, one of my sisters was successfully treated for Thyroid Cancer over a decade ago so I was blithely thinking that I was going to be ok – in that simplistic way we all have sometimes. Now it appears that I was wrong to be so confident and I am contemplating what I can do to mitigate against developing cancer if at all possible.
The new stats caused a rash of newspaper headlines and discussion across the media and I was invited to present the centre’s view on local radio and TV earlier in the week. This was quite pleasing for a couple of reasons; firstly I feel very flattered that my research colleagues trust me to present an accurate view of the science and our place in the spectrum of research, not bad for a gal who only got 10% in Chemistry O’Level…! But more importantly, because it means that all our hard work trying to raise awareness of the centre is starting to pay off.
Local media is much more aware of us and because of that so is the local community; similarly it was encouraging to have students know enough about the work to contact me, asking if they could come and film at the centre. The more people that know about the centre and the vital work we are doing, the closer we get to achieving our goal of raising the money required to continue the research, and the closer we get to saving lives.
The conundrum of what we do has partly led to these startling new figures. As we get better at identifying and diagnosing cancers, this adds to the statistics and of course as people live longer the situation is exacerbated; thankfully at the other end of the spectrum, people are surviving cancer for longer.
Some of the media discussions I was involved with centred around the merits of natural treatments versus medical intervention and also on the topic of what we can do as individuals to avoid getting cancer in the first place; there is the issue of the randomness of the mutations and cancers triggered by virus that we have no control over, but helping to boost our immunity with good nutrition, regular exercise and keeping our stress levels managed are all within our own gift.
That said, I don’t know about anyone else, but these latest statistics have sent my stress
levels soaring, and as it’s Friday, I am off to pour myself a large glass of red, it might not be good for me but it will make me feel better!!