With around 3,000 Victorians dying from preventable cancers every year, the Cancer Council Victoria is asking residents to make a donation this month to support essential prevention programs that save lives.
Les Colman is one of the many Victorians who knows what it's like to lose a loved one to a preventable cancer, having lost his brother, Lance, to melanoma in 1999. Just six months after Lance's death, Les was diagnosed with the same type of cancer, and had to battle for his own life.
"Lance had a slow and painful end - it was very difficult for all of us. So having seen what Lance went through, my heart went into my boots when I was diagnosed," Mr Colman said.
"Of course, by that stage we all knew that most skin cancers were preventable. But it was too late - the damage mostly had been done in our youth, before we knew about sunscreen and those sorts of things," he said.
Through education programs like SunSmart, the Cancer Council is continuously working to help Victorians learn about how they can reduce their risk of cancer. The successes of these programs have been many - for example, since its inception in 1988, SunSmart is estimated to have prevented 103,000 skin cancers and averted 1,000 deaths.
But while education programs are crucial to the work of the Cancer Council, spokesperson, Ms Deb Stringer, said that it is only through the continued support of the Victorian public that these important prevention programs are able to continue.
"Cancer prevention is one of the core pillars of the Cancer Council's fight against cancer, but without further funding by generous Victorians, these programs will struggle to continue impacting lives," Ms Stringer said.
"One initiative recently released by the Cancer Council was a Cut Your Cancer Risk brochure which outlined the seven ways which will help reduced your risk to cancer. These include maintaining a healthy weight, checking for unusual changes and having regular screening tests, limiting alcohol, eating a healthy diet, being physically active, staying SunSmart and quitting smoking," Ms Stringer said.
Donate online now and you could help prevent Victorians from hearing the words ‘you have cancer'.