THERE has been a lot of cancer chat on our TVs recently thanks to the Stand Up To Cancer campaign.
This month the initiative has taken over Channel 4 shows, including First Dates and Gogglebox, in a bid to encourage the public to get involved in fundraising, all in aid of Cancer Research UK.
Stewart Williams – The Sun Kris Hallenga praises shows like A Summer To Save My Life on Channel 4 which tackle misconceptions about cancer
Ever since making my own documentary for BBC3 in 2014 I have been fascinated by the way cancer is portrayed on our TV screens and, although I live with this disease every day, I can’t seem to get enough of watching shows about it.
Part of the Channel 4 takeover was a documentary called A Summer to Save My Life, which followed the lives of three patients with advanced cancers – kidney, melanoma and lung – all trialling out the newest immunotherapy treatments.
These treatments help the body’s own immune system to fight cancer with few side effects.
In a lot of cases these drugs don’t work, but when they do, they work remarkably well. So well that patients given no longer than six months to live are now seeing scan results showing no evidence of disease and in some cases their disease can be controlled for years.
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Stewart Williams – The Sun One misconception about cancer is that once you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, you give up work
I know someone who is benefiting from this new wonder treatment and it’s incredible to see her get on with a life she thought would be cut short.
The film showed patients getting the drug and then the agonising wait to see if it had worked. Oh, how I could relate to that feeling.
And I was glad that so many people who have no idea about the realities of this disease could see what it was like. And it wasn’t all bad.
We saw people getting on with life, because – guess what? – you have to.
Kris says she hopes to see our language and attitude towards cancer change
We need documentaries like these to rid the world of some of the misconceptions. Such as that once you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, you give up work.
The more we see people getting better, living longer, normal lives, the more I hope to see our language and attitude towards cancer change so it’s not something we fear.
We have a long way to go but I take my hat off to the people who are carving the path.
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