Martin Whitfield MSP has met with national bone and soft tissue cancer charity Sarcoma UK during Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month to discuss the action it is taking for children, teenagers and young adults diagnosed with sarcoma.
Mr Whitfield is pleased to support Sarcoma UK on raising awareness of the distinct challenges this age group face and make a difference for young people with cancer in Scotland. Sarcomas are uncommon cancers that can affect any part of the body. There are many different types of sarcomas. However, all subtypes of sarcoma can be grouped into soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas.
Sarcoma is the third most common CTYA (children, teenagers and young adults) cancer in the UK. A child, teenager or young adult (age 0-24) is diagnosed with sarcoma every day. Sarcomas have a worse survival rate than average for cancers affecting this age range. They are 15% less likely to survive for five years than the average CTYA cancer, and sarcoma can be among the deadliest types.
Being a teenager or young adult can be difficult but should also be exciting. There are so many important decisions, and many start to experience freedom and independence for the first time. Then you hear the three words you least expected: ‘you have cancer’, and all those plans, hopes and dreams threaten to come crashing down.
This April, cancer charities have come together for the first Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month. So young people can share their stories and be listened to. Together, we can tackle the challenges and make a change.
The charities’ awareness event at Holyrood was attended by MSPs from across Scotland. Sarcoma UK also welcomed Beth Keller to the event, who was 22 when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Beth only finished treatment under a month ago, and bravely spoke of her experiences with sarcoma as a young person.
Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“I’m proud to work with Sarcoma UK to help spread awareness of this rare cancer in young people. It’s clear that more must be done to support young people and improve their experience through specialised services and research. Change is urgently needed.
“It’s great to see this charity raising public awareness about sarcoma and its symptoms, while funding vital research into better treatments and supporting patients and loved ones through the Sarcoma UK Support Line.”
Dr Sorrel Bickley, Director of Research, Policy and Support at Sarcoma UK said:
“Cancer is different in young people. They have very different needs to older adults facing this disease, so they need a special, tailored approach to improving cancer diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
“The far-reaching impact of cancer does not end when treatment ends. Quality of life and learning to live well with cancer is vital too. The impact of a cancer diagnosis can continue for many years.
“We must raise awareness of the distinct challenges this age group face and improve outcomes for young people with cancer. Sarcoma UK welcomes the support of Martin Whitfield MSP in boosting awareness of sarcoma in teenagers and young people, and putting sarcoma on the agenda in Scotland.”
For more information about sarcoma in teenagers and young adults, please visit the charity’s dedicated TYA information page.
More general information on sarcoma, such as signs and symptoms, support, and how Sarcoma UK is funding vital research and campaigning for better treatments, is available at sarcoma.org.uk.