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Today is Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day and I met with the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) - to learn more about, and to highlight, the critical importance of symptom awareness in improving survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with these cancers. (pictured below with Jill Clark who works to raise awareness of oesophageal cancer).

The LSCT represents six less survivable cancers, lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach, with an average five-year survival rate of just 16%. Together, these less survivable cancers make up nearly half of all common cancer deaths in the UK.

Less survivable cancers are difficult to diagnose and most of the general public is unaware of common symptoms.

A UK-wide survey carried out by the LSCT and released today has found that awareness of the symptoms of these deadliest cancers is dangerously low across the UK. Only 1% of respondents were able to correctly identify all symptoms of liver cancer from a list presented to them. Symptom awareness for oesophageal and stomach cancers fared slightly better at 2% and 3% respectively while only 7% of respondents knew all the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. 9% of people could spot the signs of lung cancer while knowledge of brain tumour symptoms was higher but still only 20%.

As well as a focus on symptom awareness, the LSCT is calling for a commitment to increasing survival rates for less survivable cancers to 28% by 2029 by eliminating avoidable delays in diagnosis and proactively investing in research and treatment options.

Each year thousands of people across the UK are diagnosed with a less survivable cancer and it’s a tragedy that this results in such a brutally short life expectancy. I’m pleased to support Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day and the aims of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce.

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