‘Urgent need for lifesaving prostate cancer awareness campaign’ – Rogers

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Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
SDLP MLA Sean Rogers has spoken of the urgent need for a public awareness campaign to educate men about prostate cancer, which he believes would save lives. Speaking in the Assembly during a debate on a motion calling for the Health Minister to introduce a public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the disease, and to introduce a screening programme, Rogers touched on his personal experience as a cancer survivor. Rogers said, “I know only too well the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis can have on the individual and their family. However, with access to screening an early detection can be made, resulting in more cancer survivors and positive stories – like my own. “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Northern Ireland, with some 965 new cases every year. The Assembly needs to send out a clear message to the public to encourage people to come forward and get tested, as early diagnosis saves lives,” Rogers insisted. “In Northern Ireland, prostate cancer is by far the most common form of cancer in men. Northern Ireland has the worst five-year survival rate and slowest annual rate of improvement in survival for prostate cancer of any nation in the United Kingdom. “We must have an awareness campaign designed to inform older men, in particular, about the benefits of screening for this disease. I understand how distressing and life changing a cancer diagnoses can be. The impact is felt by both the person concerned and their immediate family. “We must provide services that support both the patient and the family circle. The family, as care givers, need to feel they can access services which provide information to help the patient on their cancer journey. Rogers added, “Recognition must be given to the exceptionally high standard of the care our NHS staff provides. We must ensure that cancer units receive the support they need in order to continue to provide this vital care to patients.”
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