A HARD-HITTING roadshow has been driving home the facts about cancer.
Cancer survivors teamed up with Wearside GPs for the Be Clear on Cancer campaign, which stopped off at The Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland.
Patients who survived some of the most widespread cancers in the North East are starring in a series of commercials to show how an early diagnosis saves lives.
The inspiring stars of the small screen are working with the NHS campaign to raise awareness of bowel, breast, lung, prostate, oesophageal and skin cancers and encourage people to tell their GP if they think something might be wrong.
They are reliving their stories for a series of Be Clear on Cancer commercials being launched in shopping centres across the North East.
Nonnie Crawford, director of public health for Sunderland, and for the NHS North of England Cancer Network, said: “Cancer affects us all and doesn’t discriminate. It affects people of all ages, from every background, and we are all susceptible to having cancer whether you’re a brother or sister, mum or dad, gran or grandad.
“We are very pleased to be launching this important campaign because if people become more aware of signs and symptoms of cancer it could have a huge impact on their health and even save their life.”
She added: “Look out for our short film featuring the real life stories of our ambassadors in your local shopping centre and our teams who will be spreading the message to help you Be Clear on Cancer.”
The ambassadors are joined by the region’s leading cancer GPs who are urging people not to be embarrassed or feel silly about telling their doctor if they think they may have a cancer symptom.
Dr Jonathan Berry, speaking on behalf of the North of England Cancer Network, said: “I am a family GP and I want my patients to recognise if they have any signs and symptoms they think may be cancer and come and tell me.
“There is nothing to be embarrassed about and it’s better to know what’s going on. If it is not serious your mind will be put at rest.
“However, if it is a serious condition then the earlier it is diagnosed the more treatable it is. Visiting your doctor could save your life.”
Cancer survivor Alan Bainbridge appears in the Be Clear on Cancer campaign adverts.
The former prison governor was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus after going to the doctor with a cough.
He was treated at University Hospital North Durham, before having an operation at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and Royal Victoria Infirmary.
He said: “Get yourself to the doctor and persuade them to give you a definitive answer to your problems.
“I went early because I was bullied into it by my wife.
“The doctors are the cleverest people in the whole world and the nurses are tremendous, but you have to give them something to work with.”
Be Clear on Cancer was launched across the North East and North Cumbria by the North of England Cancer Network to raise awareness of the symptoms of breast, bowel and lung cancer and how finding symptoms early enough makes it more treatable and could save lives.
In the North East there are more people who develop cancer compared to the national average.
And a survey commissioned by Be Clear on Cancer showed the majority of people didn’t know the early signs and symptoms of the cancers affecting people in their area.