Charity launches research fund to battle cancers that target young

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a CHARITY in Yorkshire is launching a campaign to raise funds for landmark research into rare cancers to find better treatments for younger people.

The initiative by the Huddersfield-based Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust aims to uncover the best treatment for young adults with germ cell tumours (GCTs).

The cancers remain rare but are among the most common in adolescents, usually affecting the testes and ovaries, collectively referred to as the gonads.

The charity says tumours in the age group are often overlooked and treatment is poorly understood and carried out on wards which are not tailored for young people.

The research is being led by a team based in Leeds and Huddersfield but involves collaborations with laboratories and clinical teams from across the UK, as well as centres and specialists in Europe and United States.

Cancer specialist Johnathan Joffe, who works at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Leeds, said: “The research will, for the first time, explain why these tumours behave differently in different age groups and will demonstrate the optimal way to treat and cure more patients with these cancers. It will also hopefully put an end to the separate approaches currently being used by cancer teams.”

The Laura Crane trust is also launching a campaign encouraging men to make sure they regularly check themselves for testicular cancer and wants women to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer which can include pelvic, stomach and abdominal pain, persistent bloating and difficulty eating. The initiative has been backed by Super League champions Leeds Rhinos.

Trust manager Pam Thornes said urged young men and women to be aware of symptoms.

She added: “We don’t fully understand how age affects gonad cancer so this research will help ensure that young people with GCTs get the best treatment.”

The charity has created viral promotional film featuring Huddersfield-born rugby league players and charity ambassadors Andy Raleigh and Keith Senior to highlight the funding venture.

To view the film go to www.lauracranetrust.org/gonads.aspx or text GNAD42 2 to 70070 to donate £2 to the campaign.