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THINK. It Could Be Cancer: Cancer & Pregnancy Awareness Week Pt1 2023

"I still find it hard to fathom that the body, in the same space of time that it created and grew a new life, was also developing something that can kill too." 

Magia, Mummy's Star Mum, 2021

For our 10th ANNUAL Awareness Week we looked at common obstacles to a cancer diagnosis in and around pregnancy and ways to overcome them. This campaign was aimed primarily at Healthcare Professionals.

MONDAY - Too Young?

Knowing the average age for a particular cancer type could inadvertently create personal or systemic biases which may lead to red-flag symptoms being overlooked due to a patient's age.

This can be particularly tricky when paired with symptoms that can be masked by a pregnant or post-natal body. Mummy's Star has supported more Young Mums (under 35) in the last 2.5 years than any other age bracket. 

Cancer in pregnancy is never average and you can never be too young for a cancer diagnosis!

TUESDAY - Symptom Masking

Many cancer symptoms can be mistaken for common pregnancy or post-natal changes to the body.This can lead to less thorough exploration, or a lack of appropriate referrals, if the symptoms are not treated as they would be in a patient who was not pregnant or in the post-natal period. 

See the symptom. Detect and explore potential cancer symptoms early and thoroughly by treating the patient as you would if they were not pregnant or post-natal.

WEDNESDAY - Multiple Presentations

Making multiple presentations to different healthcare professionals, without receiving answers or a clear next step, can drain a patient's confidence and may discourage them from speaking up if their symptoms persist.

There are tools to help reduce the length and complexity of a patient's journey to cancer diagnosis, including the Non Specific Symptoms Pathway; part of the NHS's Faster Diagnostic Framework.

Empower patients & professionals to stay confident and in communication while on the journey to diagnosis.

THURSDAY - Who Takes The Lead?

A patient can end up speaking to lots of different healthcare professionals unless someone takes the lead to investigate and follow through the exploration of their symptoms. It can also be difficult to know whether primary or maternity care should be taking the lead in their investigation, when a patient is pregnant or post-natal. 

Take the lead and be the champion your patient needs to reach a cancer diagnosis.

Friday - Education & Awareness

Our top tips to OVERCOME obstacles to a cancer diagnosis in or around pregnancy:

THINK: It could be cancer. See the symptom not the pregnancy.

REFER: Guide your patient through further investigations.

ESCALATE: Be the champion your patient needs to get answers.

EDUCATE: The more you know, the more you can help!

Mummy's Star is dedicated to educating healthcare professionals about cancer in and around pregnancy and supporting them to care for and treat patients, in this difficult situation, to the best of their ability.



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