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BlogRadio legend and cancer survivor Mark Radcliffe says: “Don’t be silent. Speak...

Radio legend and cancer survivor Mark Radcliffe says: “Don’t be silent. Speak out”

Mark Radcliffe – BBC radio presenter  is urging men across the North West to look out for signs of head and neck cancer and have the confidence to “Speak Out, as part of a new campaign from North West Cancer Research.  


Don’t Be Silent. Speak Out launches today (Thursday 31 August) as new figures show that more men across the region are living with head and neck cancer. 


According to newly-released statistics from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS), rates of head and neck cancer in the North West are 20% higher than England as a whole; with over twice as many men living with the disease than women. 


Affecting more than 30 different parts of the head and neck, including the throat, tongue and mouth, the condition is more common in men, especially those aged 50 and above.  


And Mark, who was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and lymphnodes in 2018is passionate about getting other men to look out for symptoms and, importantly, get medical advice as soon as possible.  


The 65-year-old first noticed a lump in his neck while shaving his beard and consulted his GP straightaway.  


Following his diagnosis, he underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tumours in his tongue and neck, after which he was given an intensive course of radiotherapy and two rounds of chemotherapy. 


Dad-of-three Mark has now been cancer-free for five years and recently discharged from his oncologist. He said: “On the day I was diagnosed, the consultant asked whether I had someone there with me and thought to myself ‘well, that doesn’t sound good, does it!’ 


“I remember thinking about this terrible word, ‘cancer’, and how I was going to tell my wife and children – it’s something that you never think will happen to you. But, unfortunately, it can happen and it’s a word that’s heard a lot more in our region. 


I know that I am so lucky to be here todayMy story could’ve been very different if I hadn’t gone to my doctor straightaway – I was told if it hadn’t been found so quickly, I would’ve had six to eight months to live, which is terrifying. 


The message is so simple – if you find a symptom, just get it checked out. If it turns out to be nothing, then you have lost nothing. But it could save your life.” 


Common symptoms of head and neck cancer include: a lump or swelling in the neck, jaw or mouth; difficulty swallowing; persistent hoarseness; nosebleeds; a decreased sense of smell; or numbness in part of the face.  


Shirley Pringle, Research Matron at the Liverpool Head and Neck Centre at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Head and neck cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the UK and early detection and diagnosis is vital in improving outcomes for patients. 


“If you have any concerns, would urge you to contact your GP as soon as possible – symptoms vary so it is important to know what to look for. 


As part of the Don’t Be Silent. Speak Out campaign, North West Cancer Research has teamed up with a group of men from across the region who have all survived head and neck cancer, to encourage others to seek medical advice from their GP or dentist. 


Alastair Richards, CEO of North West Cancer Research, said: “Across the North Westrates of head and neck cancer are 20% higher than the rest of the country. 


We also see similar inequalities across other types of cancer, whereby those living in our region are impacted significantly more than their counterparts living elsewhere. 


“It is our mission close this gap through specific research projects that tackle the cause and find the cure for cancer. Until then though, it’s vital that people across the area know what to look out for and when to get medical advice.  


That’s why Don’t Be Silent. Speak Out is so important to help increase early diagnosis and, most importantly, encourage people to ‘speak out’.” 

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