This week (12th to 18th June) is Cancer & Pregnancy Awareness Week, and this is a blog I wrote for Macmillan in reflection of the booklet we launch as part of it
Why are we blogging about cancer and pregnancy?
Good question! Because it’s not talked about enough – so we’re going to more!
It’s Cancer & Pregnancy Awareness Week! This is the 4th time it has run, and this year there is something very significant happening during the week. After two years working closely together, we are celebrating the launch of a new booklet produced with Macmillan. It provides information, guidance and support to those women out there who sadly receive a diagnosis of any type of cancer either in pregnancy or within 12 months post birth. A rare occurrence, but an incredibly challenging situation for families nonetheless.
We formed Mummy’s Star four years ago, following tragic personal experience, in order to bring more support to these families and raise awareness of cancer and pregnancy. Up to that point there was little public awareness of this area. To date, we have supported over 350 families across the UK and Ireland, many of whom have been directly referred to us healthcare professionals.
So what’s the point of this, or any, awareness week?
Well, it’s to bring focus to a specific situation. In our case, we don’t focus on a particular cancer as such, but rather the circumstances in which the diagnosis happens. And we need to draw attention to it. There are so many people out there who simply do not know that it is even possible to have cancer while pregnant, let alone that you can actually be treated for it in pregnancy. Many people, both medical professionals and public, often and easily mistake some symptoms as just being part of the pregnancy. For example changes in breast size, shape and texture, or vaginal bleeding or stomach pains and cramps. Thankfully, most of these signs usually don’t turn out to be cancer. However, all symptoms should, and need to be, investigated nonetheless.
The hope is that the awareness week and this new booklet hand in hand will help achieve:
· a greater knowledge and understanding of cancer and pregnancy
· more awareness of how to spot possible cancer symptoms during pregnancy
· more women getting any signs they are worried about checked
· an increase in early detection which in turn will help lead to positive outcomes for more women
· a greater awareness of Mummy’s Star, so that we can offer more families in this situation emotional support, advocacy and financial help when needed.
Please show your stars this week and support #CancerandPregnancy Awareness Week.