LONDON, June 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The bone and soft tissue cancer charity, Sarcoma UK, kicks off Sarcoma Awareness Week (18-24 June) by targeting GPs with golf balls! As a response to sarcoma patients delayed diagnosis, Sarcoma UK has teamed up with the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham and the Pan Birmingham Cancer Network to campaign for earlier diagnosis. Sarcoma patients may visit their GP as many as three or four times before being sent for further investigations and this delay can mean it is too late for them to receive treatment that will cure the cancer.
The size of a soft tissue sarcoma is a key influence on whether a sarcoma can be successfully treated. The average lump size at diagnosis is currently ten centimetres. The campaign is based on the motto that any lump bigger than a golf ball (four centimetres) that is increasing in size should have a diagnosis at a specialist sarcoma centre. Sending GPs a sarcoma flyer with a golf ball attached aims to trigger GPs to seek referrals. Earlier diagnosis is vital and a big part of identification falls on to GPs to treat lumps suspiciously and make a correct referral to a specialist sarcoma centre.
Graham Bound, 54, lost a leg to sarcoma: "My sarcoma was not diagnosed for more than six months, during which time, the doctors at my GP surgery, and even some specialists, seemed puzzled by my symptoms, but not at all alarmed. I'm back on my feet now (even if one of them is made of titanium) and I believe I've been fortunate. I know that others have not been so fortunate. But even in my case, the stress and worry of knowing that it had taken so long for me to reach the specialist sarcoma unit where I was eventually diagnosed and treated. GP's alarm bells rarely ring when they see cases like mine. This imaginative campaign to educate GPs about sarcoma is just brilliant."
Sarcoma UK are also urging patients, carers, friends, family and healthcare professionals to upload their photo to http://www.sarcoma.org.uk and become part of 'The Many Faces of Sarcoma' - a wider online sarcoma community.
Photo and case study: Graham Bound
Figures related to Sarcoma:http://www.sarcoma.org.uk/factsfigures