Scott Lyons is a young man with a noble aspiration – to change the state of health in his community and see his people live longer, healthier lives. He is an active member of the Redfern community in which he was born and raised, a personal trainer, as well as a student at the University of Technology Sydney, where he is undertaking a bachelor of sport and exercise science.
As a trainer he understands the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, but it was his grandmother’s breast cancer diagnosis that really inspired him to set a positive example for his friends and family and start a conversation around how to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer:
“I believe setting a healthy example is important because I don’t want my kids looking after me when I get older. I just want to enjoy myself; I don’t want my kids or my family to be upset while I’m sick in hospital.”
Scott’s grandmother, Melva Kennedy, survived breast cancer because it was detected in the early stages. He says he would like for all families to have a similar story, to be able to say that their loved ones caught it early and survived. He learnt first-hand that cancer is not a death sentence, that it is treatable if caught early, and that healthy living and regular screening are the best ways to increase your chances of survival.
“People are scared of cancer, they don’t want to know about it, but not everything has symptoms, so you have to get checked out. You probably don’t have it, but if you do at least you’ve caught it early.”
“If you’re not feeling well, you just need to take action, you really need to go to the doctor, you need to get screened, get sorted, just get it done.”
Scott says that because cancer is associated with death, no one wants to talk about it, but if we can’t talk about it then we can’t support our family members who are trying to beat the disease.
“Yes it’s scary, when my Nan got it everyone was scared, but we are survivors and that’s what we need to talk about, surviving not dying.”
No one thinks they are going to get cancer, that’s why regular screening is so important. There is no reason to put it off, because cancer is a treatable disease, especially when it’s caught early. If you’re confused about what to get screened for and how, or what lifestyle changes you should make, speak to your doctor or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for information and support.