UK Lung Cancer Journalist of the Year
21 Jun 2012
I was delighted - and very surprised - to be told that I have been awarded the 2012 Lung Cancer Journalist of the Year Award for the blog on these pages. As an education specialist, I had hardly expected to receive an award for health journalism.
The award comes from the UK members of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition, an international group of patient organisations dedicated to supporting lung cancer patients. I was nominated by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses. So, a big thank you to both of them.
The award was launched in 2006 to recognise excellence in lung cancer reporting. Last year's winner was the lively feature writer, Cassandra Jardine, of The Daily Telegraph. Very sadly, Cassandra died of lung cancer just last month at the young age of 57. Her obituary is here.
Stigma of lung cancer
The award was motivated in part by the reluctance of the media to write about the illness, perhaps because of the stigma that attaches to smoking. In fact, many lung cancer patients - like myself - have never smoked. But, whether or not people have smoked, it is a disgrace that lung cancer mortality rates have barely improved in recent years, unlike the progress with many other forms of cancer. It is also the case that the mortality rate in the UK is considerably worse than that in many other countries. This is largely due to the late detection of the illness, which may - in a vicious circle - come from the stigma that prevents many sufferers coming forward early enough.
The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation's interim Chief Executive, Paula Chadwick, said my blog was 'vitally important, not only to break down this stigma, but also to raise awareness'.
I'm looking forward to receiving the award early next month. In the meantime, I'd like to thank everyone who has been reading this blog and particularly those of you who have contributed to the debate by posting your comments.
Health setback delays cycle training
Meanwhile I must apologise for the slack pace of postings on the blog recently. I've been struck down with a kidney/bladder infection and after several days with a high temperature I am now on rather hefty antibiotics that leave me rather drowsy much of the time. Annoyingly, this has also come at the worst time for my preparation for The Ride at the end of July. I should be clocking up the mileage, instead I can do little more than browse the cycling magazines, dreaming of new bikes and kit. Never mind, it all adds to the challenge.
Thanks for all the sponsorship. I have raised £3,245 so far and there's still plenty of time to help me get to my target. To give, visit my fund raising page: www.justgiving.com/Michael-Baker8