Last week, Chris Evans MP attended Sarcoma UK’s event in Parliament to raise awareness of Sarcoma Cancer and to support Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month.
Sarcomas are cancers that can affect any part of the body, inside or outside. For children, teenagers and young people, sarcomas generally develop in their arms, legs, chest or abdomen.
In Wales, 19 children, teenagers and young adults are diagnosed with sarcoma per year. While an uncommon cancer, sarcomas are actually the third most common cancer for children, teenagers and young adults in the UK. Sarcoma UK estimates that every day a sarcoma is diagnosed in a young person in the UK.
During the event, Mr Evans heard about how sarcomas are usually diagnosed late and are often missed or mistaken for other conditions such as growing pains or sporting injuries. However, these delays in diagnosis can increase the need for life- changing surgery and treatment and significantly reduces post- treatment quality of life.
As part of Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month, the Islwyn MP is spreading awareness of this cancer. Findings from Sarcoma UK have shown that only 25% of the public know what a sarcoma is and only 7% know the signs and symptoms.
Furthermore, Sarcoma UK also suggest that a quarter of teenagers and young adults with sarcoma did not originally think their symptoms were cancer and did not visit a doctor for more than a year after their first symptoms. The longer the delay to diagnosis, the more likely a cancer is to progress.
Mr Evans is encouraging everyone to know the symptoms of sarcomas and if they experience any, to go to their GP as soon as possible. Symptoms of sarcomas can include:
swelling under the skin may cause a painless lump that cannot easily be moved around and gets bigger over time
swelling in the tummy (abdomen) may cause abdominal pain, a persistent feeling of fullness and constipation
swelling near the lungs may cause a cough or breathlessness
This Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Month, Mr Evans is also celebrating the achievements of sarcoma cancer charities working together for better care for sarcoma patients and families in Wales and across the UK. This follows the British Sarcoma Group’s Conference 2023, held in Newport last month, which showcased the advances in genomics and personalised medicine, reconstruction and rehabilitation, palliative care, and updates on research and surgical advances.
Chris Evans MP said
‘I was great to meet representatives from Sarcoma UK to discuss the devastating impact Sarcoma Cancer has on the lives of young people and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.
This Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness month, it is important to raise awareness of cancers that affect the lives of young people and also of those that are lesser known to the public. I am pleased to support Sarcoma UK in spreading awareness of this cancer and its symptoms.’