£40,000 funding boost to help Salford graduate combat cancer

Categories: University Campus

A University of Salford graduate is helping raise awareness of cancer symptoms thanks to a £40,000 funding boost from NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Seren Hughes, who was diagnosed with cancer herself during her studies, is passionate about making a difference to other young people by helping them recognise potential signs of cancer in order to get diagnosed faster.

Seren was studying for her English degree when she began to feel unwell, and initially thought she might have the flu as she felt so tired and drained. After tests at her local GP surgery and a referral to A&E, she was told she had ovarian cancer.

The experience Seren had made her realise how little she knew about the signs of cancer and led to her becoming involved in Cancer Awareness in Teens and Twenties (CATS). CATS helps young people know the common signs of cancer and when to go to see their GP. 

The charity has now been granted £40,000 from Salford CCG’s Innovation Fund to deliver their informal and engaging educational workshops across Salford in schools, colleges, homeless charities and other support centres, as well as at the university itself.

Their aim is to increase early detection of cancer amongst 15-29 year olds, a group which Seren says are sometimes lacking in awareness as the perception is that cancer is very rare in this age group.

Seren explained: “Although most cancers are less common in younger people, it is still really important to know the signs. Cancers like lymphoma, brain tumours and testicular cancer are the most common in this age range. 

“For me, I had quite severe bloating, appetite loss and tiredness – things that I never realised could be signs of cancer. In fact, they are three of what we at CATS call ‘the big five’ symptoms: unexplained lumps or swelling, unexplained persistent pain, a mole which has changed in appearance, persistent fatigue and sudden weight loss.

“We don’t want to panic people because there could be lots of different reasons behind these symptoms, but the message really is make sure you go and see your GP if you’re worried – it probably won’t be cancer, but it is definitely worth checking!”

Each year, Salford CCG runs the Innovation Fund to support community projects that test and develop new healthcare products and services in a hope to improve outcomes for people living in the city.

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