Cancer survivors from across Leicestershire were in the city today sharing their inspiring stories and urging people to visit their GP when they experience potential signs and symptoms of cancer.
The ‘NHS Bus-ting Cancer Tour’ came to Leicester city centre earlier today (Thursday, February 9), as part of its ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign.
An NHS branded bus set down in Humberstone Gate throughout the morning, and local cancer survivors were on board to raise awareness of the importance of body vigilance and address the fear of a cancer diagnosis.
Ashby’s Mick Higgins was among those in attendance. The 73-year-old was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer three-years-ago, after noticing that he needed to use the toilet in the night more frequently than usual.
After some encouragement from his wife, Mick visited his GP who swiftly carried out various tests. Just 3 weeks later, he was referred to Burton Queen’s hospital where he received his life-changing diagnosis – both Mick and his wife were devastated as they were both in good health and enjoying life. Mick was told that because his cancer was so far gone, he must undergo the maximum number of radiotherapy sessions.
After an incredible turnaround, Mick is now cancer free, and as well as working, is a keen member of his local prostate cancer support group, alongside his wife.
He is passionate about encouraging other men to talk to their loved ones if they think they have a potential cancer symptom and to get tested as soon as possible.
“I just want to help all men from leaving it too late, because if you leave it too late you could die, through no fault of your own. But there’s all this help out there,” he told the Leicester Times.
“When I got my prognosis, it was devastating. I felt like I’d been hit by an express freight train. My world collapsed at that moment. But now I’m a survivor and I want to pass on the message that it’s not the end of the world,” he added.
“You can survive cancer and I want to to encourage men to get checked out if they notice something different with their bodies – don’t ignore it. If you are having to get up for a pee in the night quite frequently, your body’s trying to tell you something.
“If I had ignored the signs, and didn’t go to the GP, I would be dead now.”
The NHS bus was in place between 10-1pm today, before moving Orchardson Avenue, outside the Peepul Centre.
It has been on a tour of cities throughout the UK, following World Cancer Day on Saturday (February 4).
Another survivor who met with the Leicester Times today, was Shobhna Valand, who was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer back in 2016.
She was on board to advise people to contact their GP straight away if they notice something different.
“It’s what I did when I first found a lump,” she revealed.
“I found it while I was showering in the morning, and I phoned the GP to make an appointment on my lunch-break in the afternoon.
“My process went fast and quick – I got seen quickly and it was acted on quickly, so that’s why I’m here today,” she added. “I want people to be aware of it and not put it off. Then you realise that you’ve left it for too long.
“If you leave it too long, it could spread more, so I would say leave everything else, and go and act fast – do the right thing.”
To find out more about the campaign, visit: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2023/02/nhs-launches-cancer-bus-ting-tour-as-double-decker-bus-aims-to-drive-up-awareness-of-deadly-disease/