We're searching for regional West Australians over 40 years of age to share their cancer story to encourage others not to ignore symptoms.
Research reveals regional West Australians are 20 - 30 per cent more likely to die within five years of a cancer diagnosis than those in Perth because of a low awareness of early symptoms and delays in seeking medical attention.
Our Find Cancer Early campaign aims to tackle the issue, and personal stories are powerful tools to get the message across.
"Speaking up and sharing your story could be the push your friend, workmate or neighbour needs to stop putting off getting a potential cancer symptom checked - it could quite literally save their life," says Kate Ratson, our Regional Education Officer for the Midwest.
"The fact is, the earlier cancer is found, the better your treatment outcomes are, so it's vital you know what to look out for and see your doctor, clinic nurse, or health worker when something's not right."
The stories will be included on the new Find Cancer Early website, which already has nineteen champions from across the state.
Common excuses given by regional cancer patients for not seeking medical attention sooner was being too busy, assuming the changes are a normal part of aging, and concerns about discussing symptoms.
"If you're over 40 and experience any of the following for more than four weeks - problems peeing; looser poo; unexplained weight loss; any unusual pain, lumps or swelling; a persistent cough or breathlessness - get it checked out," Kate said
"Even more importantly, if you ever have blood in your pee or poo, or cough up blood, it's essential you don't ignore it - see your doctor, clinic nurse of health worker straight away."
"Ignoring the warning signs and allowing the cancer to spread can make treatment more difficult and reduce the chances of survival, so the quicker you can react to potential symptoms the better your chance of successful treatment."
If you've had prostate, breast, skin, bowel or lung cancer and you'd like to share your story, visit the new Find Cancer Early website.
For confidential cancer-related information and support call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Our Find Cancer Early awareness campaign was developed as part of a research initiative by Cancer Council WA and the University of Western Australia to address the poorer outcomes faced by regional cancer patients.