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Show your support for Daffodil Day
‘I’d feel it in the depth of night, the heartburn and indigestion. I said to my wife, Jodie, that it felt like I was being eaten from the inside out – it scared the hell out of me,’ he recalls.
‘I knew something wasn’t right so I went to see my doctor. Three months later I saw a specialist and was told I had oesophageal cancer; 31 years old and diagnosed with a cancer that was typically thought of as an old person’s disease.’
Derrick was immediately referred for surgery, having been told that, should he not proceed with surgery there was just a 50/50 chance he would survive beyond five years.
‘The procedure was extremely painful; surgeons sliced me, diced me, cracked my ribs, deflated my lung, removed one third of my stomach and cut out two thirds of my oesophagus,’ he says. And the recovery was just as tough.
‘It took 12 months before I felt reasonably strong again. I lost 40 kilos and took time off work. With the amount of x-rays post-surgery, I’m surprised I didn’t glow in the dark!’
Derrick survived his cancer diagnosis and, five years later, welcomed the first of their two sons, now aged seven and four. Derrick is now a Cancer Connect Volunteer, and is sharing his story to coincide with Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day.
Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day, held today – August 24th, is a chance for all of us to grow hope for a brighter, cancer-free future. This year, Cancer Council aims to raise $9.2 million nationally to continue to help fund vital cancer research, prevention programs and support services like the Cancer Council Helpline – 13 11 20.
If you needed any more encouragement to get involved, here are some facts about cancer in Australia
- An estimated 114,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Australia in 2010.
- 1 in 2 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
- Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia – more than 43,000 people are estimated to have died from cancer in 2010.
- Nearly 15,000 more people die each year from cancer than 30 years ago.This is mainly due to population growth and aging.Over the same period, the death rate (number of deaths per 100,000 people) has fallen by 16%.
- More than 60% of cancer patients will survive more than five years after diagnosis.
- The survival rate for many common cancers has increased by 30 per cent in the past two decades.
- Every day in Australia, around 300 people are told they have a life-threatening cancer.
- Each day in Australia, more than 100 people will die of the disease.
- The most common cancers in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) are prostate, colorectal (bowel), breast, melanoma and lung cancer.
- Around 434,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers, with 420 people dying in 2007.
- Cancer costs more than $3.8 billion in direct health system costs (7.2%) each year.
- $378 million was spent on cancer research in 2000-01, 22% of all health research expenditure in Australia.
- Cancer Council is Australia’s peak cancer control organisation and invests approx. $50M a year into research into the causes of cancer, prevention and improved treatments.
About the Author
Lizzy has more than ten years’ experience in the print and digital publishing arena and is the Editor at Single File. Having moved from the UK to Australia in 2008, Lizzy has worked for a number of leading publishers in Sydney and has particular expertise in the health, wellness and travel markets. If you have any questions for Lizzy, you can send them across by email to email@example.com.