Hibbert Backs Health Campaign
Blues right-back supports Merseyside initiative.
Everton right-back Tony Hibbert is supporting a health awareness campaign to highlight the risks of suffering in silence with potential rare cancers.
The Royal Liverpool University Hospitals is encouraging people to seek help when the sarcoma – a rare cancer that develops in the supporting or connective tissues of the body such as muscle, bone, nerves, cartilage, blood vessels and fat – is the size of a golf ball and not a football, and the Blues defender was happy to lend his support to the campaign.
Hibbert met a group of patients at Everton’s training ground, Finch Farm, who had been successfully treated after detecting their sarcoma early.
He said: “All of the patients I met got checked out and were diagnosed early, meaning the sarcoma was treatable and they are now able to live a normal life. It’s so important that you see your GP as soon as possible. If you have a lump that is bigger than a golf ball, get to your GP. Don’t wait until it’s the size of a football.”
Sarcomas can look like simple lumps or bumps and can often be painless but they can increase in size dramatically.
As a leading centre for the research and treatment of cancers, The Royal Liverpool University Hospital is the regional centre for sarcoma covering a population of about 4 million people across Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Mr Chandrasekar, Consultant in Orthopaedics at the Liverpool Sarcoma Service, said: “We see over 100 patients with sarcoma a year at the Royal. But all too often we see patients who have waited until their sarcoma has grown and grown, sometimes to the size of a football before they see their GP.
“This will mean they require extensive surgery, sometimes followed by an intensive course of radiotherapy. Sadly, due to people leaving it so late before they see a GP, around 40 to 50 per cent will die within five years. Nevertheless sarcomas are treatable especially when they are diagnosed early and many have been cured, leading a normal life.
“For every 1cm increase in the size of a sarcoma, the prognosis worsens by three per cent, so early diagnosis is key to the survival of the patient.”