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World Cancer Day brings local cancer charities together

Local cancer charities joined forces for the first time in support of World Cancer Day yesterday.

At the Piazza the charities raised awareness handing out calendars and leaflets, with a few Westside School girls making a short visit to support the cause.

Cancer Relief alongside Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Support, Prostate Cancer Support Group, Bloodwise, Pathway Through Pain and Research into Childhood Cancer [RICC] were united at yesterday’s event to promote awareness.

cancer awareness

“It is absolutely wonderful. I knew it was happening but seeing it all here together with this colourful display and the schools have been wonderful as they usually are. Thanks to them all,” Minister for Health Dr John Cortes said.

“Seeing all the charities together and seeing so many friends of mine with so much energy, working together to make life better for cancer suffers and their families, and working towards finding cures and solutions is absolutely wonderful.”

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Dr Cortes said that World Cancer Day is now an event celebrated annually in Gibraltar. He hopes in the coming years the charities will continue to unite for this good cause.

“Cancer is something that I work with every day and it affects us all in so many different ways,” he said.

“The community lives with cancer, we all know people who have suffered, who have survived and others who haven’t. I think the community will be encouraged to see so many different people from the public sector and also the charities working together to take this forward.”

“I think this is enriching the community and proof of the way that Gibraltar really gels and works together to make progress.”

According to an analysis by Cancer Research UK, cancer rates in the UK have fallen by almost 10% in the last decade. Due to improvement in detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer men’s death rates have fallen by 12% and 8% for women.

In the UK around 85,000 men and 77,000 women die from cancer each year.

GHA Cancer Care Co-ordinator Isobel Ellul-Hammond said the main message of the awareness day was prevention and detection.

She advised people should look out for blood loss, a lump, pain, appetite loss and weight loss, and if suffering any of these symptoms to go to their GP.

“This is amazing. It has been a really emotional time in the run up to today,” she said.

“When you work with cancer services like I have for 12 years it really is a job of two contrasts, there is this dichotomy of you mourn people you have lost and we have all lost people who are close friends and every day we think about them but at the same time we are celebrating life and those who have pulled through.”

“It is fantastic that we are all here together all sharing those two really strong contrasting emotions.”

Cancers of the lung, bowel, breast and prostate account for almost half of all cancer related deaths in the UK.

At the event people wrote on adhesive hand shaped stickers in celebration or in memory of their loved ones. These notes was stuck onto the stall providing a touching, bright display.

Many of the notes were drawn on by local students and teachers with words such as gratitude, hope and love.

“For the first time we have done this all together. All the Gibraltar cancer charities have come together to unite against cancer, to support people and be aware,” Grainne McKenna from Cancer Relief Gibraltar said.

“Day is about how together we make a bigger and stronger voice. We can make more changes and this is going to be something that we do every single year, which will be bigger and better each year.”

“All of us would like to say a massive thank you to the schools, to every single school and every child in Gibraltar who has contributed today and every teacher as it shows and reflects in our community.”

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