I really admire the cancer charities. I think they’re brilliant at raising people’s awareness of cancer. National breakfast TV has just devoted airtime to a kind-of “nuancey”-type issue, and it makes me think it is brilliant if they can get that level of detail aired in mainstream media. They must be very slick operators.
Of course my own primary interest is with stroke. The Stroke Association charity does well, but there’s not the same level of awareness about stroke. Features about stroke are few and far between. In fairness, a lot of programmes have had one-off articles about stroke – I pay attention to this stuff now – but it’s not something which is sufficiently well known to be on the news, certainly.
I mean, I suspect that if you took a straw poll, and asked people what the biggest killer was, cancer would be right up there. Heart attacks are well-known too, I think, but strokes less-so.
If you look at the numbers, it’s unclear because of course there are many types of cancer, as indeed there are many types of stroke, or at least, many different results. The Stroke Association says that twice as many women die from stroke than from breast cancer. As I’ve said, though, breast cancer is just one form of cancer. Conversely only 1/8 of people, about 2/3, who have a stroke will die as a result – most people (there are over a million of us in the UK) will be left like me, but will get well enough to survive their initial hospital stay. I suspect it must be like comparing apples and oranges though, even if you have the raw data in front of your. I know from my own experience that strokes don’t necessarily have an obvious presentation, for all I know, cancers might be the same. I mean, qualitatively, you can say that both are biggies, at least. And yet cancer charities have raised awareness so much that it makes the news.
I must remember this when my coffee group next worries about how few of us turn up each time.