Every year, the world comes together in the fight against cancer. On World Cancer Day, celebrated annually on February 4, the message to patients and survivors is one of action.
A particular patient, Wally Bak, has shared his personal journey to inspire others and encourage early detection.
In 2007, Wally started losing his voice. His partner also noticed the changes in his voice and advised Wally to go get it checked out.
“Being a typical male I didn’t do anything about it. Over time it got worse and worse,” Wally said.
“Several months had past, and on Mother’s Day in May 2008, my throat area blew up like a pelican! I finally decided to do something about it.”
After seeing the doctor, Wally was diagnosed with stage four throat cancer.
He was immediately booked in for laryngectomy surgery which is the removal of the larynx and separation of the airway from the mouth, nose and oesophagus.
Today, he is cancer free.
Wally’s message to everyone is to live to the fullest every day.
“Cancer can be beaten,” Wally said.
“The changes to my neck were irreversible and permanent, and it took me a while to adjust to the changes, but I am now cancer free.
“Once you pass the five year mark, your chances are just like the general population.”
Wally is now part of the Laryngectomy Association of NSW where he shares his experience with others.
World Cancer Day is the ideal opportunity to visit the GP if you are experiencing concerning symptoms. Early detection is vital.
ABOUT WORLD CANCER DAY
- A global event taking place every year on 4 February, World Cancer Day unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer.
- It aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.
- World Cancer Day is the ideal opportunity to spread the word and raise the profile of cancer in people’s minds and in the world’s media
- Cancer affects everyone in a patient’s life in different ways. Partners, families and friends can take steps to work together through the challenges of cancer and its treatment so that no one faces the disease alone.
- There is no ‘right way’ for a cancer patient and their partner to cope with cancer, but there are actions that couples can take to support each other through this challenging time. For example, keeping the lines of communication open and taking time to talk about feelings and difficult topics such as the fear of recurrence or financial concerns can be helpful in dealing with the emotional impact.