Sir Alex Ferguson and other stars help Glasgow beat cancer

EARLY cancer diagnosis in Glasgow has increased by 11% as a result of a star-studded £30million lifesaving campaign.

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Sir Alex Ferguson promoted the message about getting checked for lung cancer
Sir Alex Ferguson promoted the message about getting checked for lung cancer

Top Glasgow-born celebrities Alex Ferguson, Elaine C Smith and Ford Kiernan played lead roles in the Scottish Government's bid to boost survival rates.

The Evening Times has obtained exclusive figures which show 10.7% (1518) more people in the Glasgow area caught cancer early at stage one last year compared with 1299 the previous year.

Last year 2982 patients were diagnosed early, a rise of 5.5% on 2,696 the previous year for the entire west of Scotland.

Breast, bowel and lung cancer have been the key focus of the campaign and today our latest statistics prove people are getting the message.

We have also been given exclusive access to details in a new survey which reveals how the public responded to the detect cancer early crusade.

Figures showed 85% of people were aware of the campaign's message and half of those questioned felt more confident about going to their GP with signs and symptoms as a result of it.

Actress and comedian Elaine C Smith's shock TV and poster ads with pictures of real breasts with visible signs of cancer triggered an amazing 50% (7100) increase in the numbers of women going to their doctor with breast cancer concerns.

More than 80% of the public quizzed in the survey said they were motivated by the breast cancer campaign launched in 2012, and half of them admitted to now checking their breasts regularly because they know what to look out for.

Glasgow Still Game star Ford Kiernan, who became the voice of the well-known bowel cancer advert, has spurred 72% of those questioned to take the test compared with 63% before the bowel cancer campaign launch last February.

The 'poo song' received 74,316 views and 'How to do the bowel cancer test' film received 3,629 hits on YouTube.

New statistics have also shown a 21% increase in the number of lung cancers diagnosed at stage one.

Football legend Sir Alex Ferguson's powerful lung cancer message "Lung cancer isn't what it used to be" got an amazing public response, with 93% of people recognising that early detection was key to survival.

On the Get Checked Early's Facebook page 294,656 people shared the message by Sir Alex, who lost both his parents to the disease, and his TV ad got more than 4500 YouTube hits.

The lung cancer campaign launched last November was also backed by Deacon Blue singer Lorraine McIntosh, tennis ace Andy Murray's mum Judy, Glasgow-born rowing champion Katherine Grainger and TV presenter Jenni Falconer.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "Cancer is a word that most of us dread hearing however it can be treated and beaten when detected at an early stage -this is our priority.

"Even more lives can be saved in Scotland through earlier detection and the message to Scots is simple - don't get scared, get checked.

GRANDMOTHER Anne James insists breast screening can save lives by helping to spot cancer early.

The 55-year-old from Pollok was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), a type of breast cancer, 12 years ago after finding a lump on her breast, and Anne was grateful to be offered treatment to stop the potential spread of cancerous cells to other parts of her body.

Anne, mum-of-three and pharmaceutical technician, said : "My health is now just as good as it's always been but my attitude to cancer and looking after myself has changed.

"I feel very strongly about attending breast screening as it may have picked up my cancer.

"It really annoys me when I hear of people who don't go to their appointment. Having a mammogram can be uncomfortable but it's over quickly - being diagnosed with advanced cancer is far worse.

"There's also no need to put it off due to fear as cancer is very treatable now if it's caught early.

"There really is no excuse for women not to go and I would urge people to take up the offer of screening when it's in their area."

Anne told how she was sent to a one-stop clinic after she went to her GP when she found a lump, but her mammogram and needle biopsy came back negative.

Six months later she had the lump removed as a precaution and it was then she found out she had grade one breast cancer. She had surgery to remove 16 lymph nodes and a third of her breast, as well as six weeks of radiotherapy.

RETIRED depute head teacher Charles Waddell is living proof that detecting cancer early leads to the best possible outcome. The grandfather of four credits his diagnosis and successful treatment to taking part in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme.

Charles, 63, from Kilwinning, Ayrshire, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in March 2008 and is now living life to the full after having 12 inches of his large bowel removed.

Catching the disease early meant that he didn't need any follow-up treatment.

He said: "My advice to others is not to delay and to take the bowel screening test as soon as it arrives. I have no doubt that taking the test saved my life.

"I now keep very well and I haven't had any issues with my health. In the six years since my surgery I've had regular check-ups and am now at the stage where these need to be much less frequent.

"Since recovering from bowel cancer I take up opportunities when they arise and make the most of this second chance.

"It has also brought home to me that cancer is not always something that happens to others."

Charles' first thought after being diagnosed was "there goes my retirement", as he had just secured a date for leaving his job.

He added: "I felt perfectly well and had no symptoms so being told that I had bowel cancer felt quite surreal.

"I think being diagnosed with cancer was actually much harder for family and friends to come to terms with.

"Things moved very quickly and I was back at the hospital for an operation that removed about a foot of my large bowel.

"I was very fortunate as the cancer hadn't spread."

Health

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