‘Time is of the essence when it comes to a cancer diagnosis’

A local cancer support charity has urged people not to let the Covid pandemic overshadow any concerns they have about their health, following the death of Sarah Harding.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 1:44 pm
The launch of the Covid, Cancer and You campaign at Free Derry wall in March, this year. DER2110GS – 014

The former Girls Aloud star, who passed away last week a year after being diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, admitted in her autobiography ‘Hear Me Out’ that she had put off seeking medical advice when she first found lumps under her arm because of the global pandemic.

Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group, who launched the ‘Covid, Cancer and You’ campaign earlier this year to ensure Cancer was not the forgotten C during the pandemic, has urged people to seek medical advice if they have any concerns about their body.

Michelle McLaren, development worker with the Pink Ladies, said Covid has impacted people going to routine screening and seeking medical attention.

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“Knowing when there is something wrong with your body and when to go and get it checked is so important. If it is anything sinister, early detection means less invasive treatment and can prevent death.”

Michelle, who was diagnosed with breast cancer herself when she was just 25, said she hopes that the tragic death of Sarah Harding will ‘change younger women’s attitude to breast cancer’.

“Sadly sometimes it takes the like of a celebrity being diagnosed to encourage people to take notice of their body. There is no age limit to cancer, we are seeing younger people getting diagnosed all the time.

“If you notice something is wrong or you are unwell, that is an emergency to you. We would advise people to seek medical attention if there is a change to their body lasting more than two weeks.

“In relation to breast cancer, women need to get to know what their breasts feel like and examine themselves once a month.”

Michelle said women need to be aware of slight changes to the shape and size of their breast, check for lumps in the breast, up to the collarbone and under the arm and be aware of discharge or pain, redness or rashes that are not going away.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to cancer diagnosis and Covid is impacting on this greatly,” Michelle said. “Don’t think that because you are young fit and healthy you are safe from a cancer diagnosis.

“One in two people are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Cancer is becoming more survivable and that is down to research new treatments and early detection.”

For more information contact Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group on 02871414004 or 07710025494. Alternatively email [email protected]