Signing up for life

PUBLISHED: 12:28 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 06 May 2010

Barbara Walker signing the petition with her son Brendan, 28

Barbara Walker signing the petition with her son Brendan, 28

A WOMAN who survived a rare form of cancer, which could only be treated in three centres in the world, has put her name to a major new campaign. It urges politicians to face up to future challenges posed by the disease. Barbara Walker, 60, of York Road, S

A WOMAN who survived a rare form of cancer, which could only be treated in three centres in the world, has put her name to a major new campaign.

It urges politicians to face up to future challenges posed by the disease.

Barbara Walker, 60, of York Road, Stevenage, believes helping Cancer Research UK to put pressure on decision makers now could make a huge difference to survival rates in the future.

She is backing the charity's calls for comprehensive cancer strategies to run until at least 2020. At present none of the UK's four nations have devised policies to take them beyond 2011.

Mrs Walker was diagnosed with choriocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer of the womb, in 1979 when her daughter Siobhan was four and twin sons Kieran and Brendan were a year old.

She said: "It was a very rare form of cancer. Only three hospitals in the world treated it then including Charing Cross in London. The other two were in Australia and America.

"I had a hysterectomy and several months of chemotherapy and I have been clear of cancer since although a side-effect of the treatment was my hearing was impaired. But that treatment saved my life.

"The same treatment which was then only available in one hospital in Britain can now be received locally.

"I support Cancer 2020 because so much still has to be planned for. Unless you have had cancer you don't realise how important treatment is.

"Too many people write you off and say you will die if you have cancer. But I am evidence that is not always the case."

Mrs Walker added: "More and more people like me are surviving cancer, which is obviously fantastic news. But society must not get complacent. Positive survival rates are tempered by the fact that cancer incidence is on the rise as well.

"Addressing this growing cancer challenge will depend on rigorous planning, which is why I am joining Cancer Research UK in calling on politicians to develop comprehensive cancer strategies extending until at least 2020."

To sign Cancer Research UK's petition visit www.cancer2020.org, text CAMPAIGN to 64118 or visit your nearest Cancer Research UK shop.

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