Taking steps to expose 'silent' cancer

Bob Simmonds with his wife Jean

Bob Simmonds with his wife Jean

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by

KEEN walker Bob Simmonds was stopped in his tracks by kidney cancer.

Now the 71-year-old is backing an Oxford charity’s bid to use the Jubilee Fund to spread the word about ‘silent’ urological cancers.

Mr Simmonds, from Tetsworth near Thame, was diagnosed in December 2007 after a routine medical scan revealed a mass on one of his kidneys.

He said: “My wife Jean and I travel all over the world, backpacking and walking, and life was going along as normal. When I got the news I had cancer everything suddenly looked very black.”

The father-of-one continued: “Straight away Jean and I realised we knew practically nothing about kidney cancer and it wasn’t until we saw specialists at the Churchill Hospital we even had a clue about its symptoms, treatment or prognosis.”

Urological cancers (kidney, bladder, prostrate and testicular cancer) represent one in five of all cancers in men and women. There are 54,000 new UK cases each year and each year it causes 18,000 deaths.

Mr Simmonds said: “I have undergone several surgeries and thankfully they’ve been successful. But in addition to the amazing care at the Churchill, we are indebted to a small charity, based at the Churchill, called UCARE.

“It has given us information and support which otherwise might not have been there for us.”

UCARE (Urological Cancer Research and Education) was established in Oxford in 2007 by a group of doctors and clinicians at the Churchill.

UCARE development officer Valerie Berry, 56, said: “Britain is lagging behind mainland Europe in the detection of these cancers and the reason for this is the gap between recognising symptoms and seeking medical help.

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“We need to bridge this gap. And that’s why we want to fund a community nurse to raise awareness of the diseases and their symptoms and save lives.”

UCARE needs to raise between £30,000 and £40,000 to fund a community nurse for a year.

The Jubilee Fund was launched in January and aims to raise millions of pounds for struggling charities and projects.

To donate to the Jubilee Fund or to volunteer to fundraise, email: jubilee@oxfordshire.org, call 01865 798666, or drop into OCF’s offices at 3 Woodins Way, Oxford. Or text JBLE 12 to 70070 with a donation.

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