Monica Meets with Rare Cancer Charity to Discuss Taking Action for Teenagers and Young Adults with Sarcoma

Monica met with national bone and soft tissue cancer charity Sarcoma UK on Thursday 20th April during Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month. They discussed the work the charity is doing to take action for children, teenagers and young adults diagnosed with sarcoma.

Commenting, she said:

“Making a difference for young people with cancer in Scotland is a really important issue. I am pleased to be supporting Sarcoma UK, and it was a delight to welcome them back to the Scottish Parliament.

“More must be done to raise awareness of this rare cancer in young people, and to support those young people living with cancer. Change is urgently needed.

“I am grateful to Hamilton resident Anne Whalin for sharing her experience of sarcoma.

‘It’s great to see this charity raising public awareness about sarcoma and its symptoms, while funding vital research into better treatments and supporting patients and loved ones through the Sarcoma UK Support Line.”

Sarcomas are uncommon cancers that can affect any part of the body. There are many different types of sarcoma, however all subtypes of sarcoma can be grouped into soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas.

Sarcoma is the third most common CTYA (children, teenagers and young adults) cancer in the UK, with a child, teenager or young adult (age 0-24) being diagnosed with sarcoma every day.

Being a teenager or young adult can be difficult but should also be exciting. There are so many important decisions, and many start to experience freedom and independence for the first time.

Then you hear the three words you least expected: ‘you have cancer’, and all those plans, hopes and dreams threaten to come crashing down.

Sarcomas have a worse survival rate than average for cancers affecting this age range. They are 15% less likely to survive for 5 years than the average CTYA cancer, and sarcoma can be among the deadliest types.

We must raise awareness of the distinct challenges this age group face and improve outcomes for young people with cancer.

This April, cancer charities from across the UK have come together for the first Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month. So young people can share their stories and be listened to. Together, we can tackle the challenges and make a change.

Sarcoma UK also welcomed Beth Keller to the event, who was 22 when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Beth only finished treatment under a month ago, and bravely spoke of her experiences with sarcoma as a young person.

(L-R) Beth Keller, Sarcoma UK advocate and Monica Lennon MSP

Also in attendance were representatives from Sarcoma UK including CEO Richard Davidson, and Director of Research, Policy and Support, Dr Sorrel Bickley. 

"Cancer is different in young people. They have very different needs to older adults facing this disease, so they need a special, tailored approach to improving cancer diagnosis, treatment, care and support,"  says Dr Sorrel Bickley.

"The far-reaching impact of cancer does not end when treatment ends. Quality of life and learning to live well with cancer is vital too. The impact of a cancer diagnosis can continue for many years."

"We must raise awareness of the distinct challenges this age group face and improve outcomes for young people with cancer. Sarcoma UK welcomes the support of Monica Lennon MSP in boosting awareness of sarcoma in teenagers and young people, and putting sarcoma on the agenda in Scotland."

Anne Whalin, a Hamilton resident believes it is crucial to raise awareness of such a rare cancers saying: ‘"Awareness is needed as sarcoma is so rare that a GP will probably only see only one case on average over the course of their career".

“I was misdiagnosed for two years and when I eventually received my diagnosis it had already spread to my lungs. I am so thankful for the amazing care I have received from the Beatson Glasgow.”

For more information about sarcoma in teenagers and young adults, please visit the charity’s dedicated TYA information page.  More general information on sarcoma, such as signs and symptoms, support, and how Sarcoma UK is funding vital research and campaigning for better treatments, is available at sarcoma.org.uk. 

 

Monica Lennon is an MSP for the Central Scotland Region. In 2021, she passed the ground-breaking Period Product (Scotland) Act. Follow her on Twitter for recent updates.