YOUNG farmer Danny Atkins from Woolsery has been highlighting the need for cancer checks in the fight against the disease which killed his best friend two years ago.
Pain and swelling in bones and joints can be misdiagnosed, and Woolsery YFC chairman Danny is repeating the advice from the Bone Cancer Research Trust about not ignoring early signs that might help avoid serious illness.
He said: "It is very important to visit your GP even with the smallest issues. Most bone cancer symptoms don't arise straight away, so if you shrug off the minor aches and pains you are prolonging the process of discovering the cancer at an early stage.
"My best friend Will Carling died two years ago of Ewings Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer normally found in teens and young adults. He visited the GP on many occasions. It paid off and he got diagnosed earlier, therefore prolonging his life.
"If you need more info on any forms of cancer and checking yourself over, visit websites, visit GPs and talk to people who have been through it.
"There is no shame in asking or being curious. Too many people die from cancer because it has been discovered too late because they didn't do something early enough."
Danny is raising £3000 so that he can run in the London Marathon next year for the Bone Cancer Research Trust.
He has raised more than £2000 so far, most of which came from a charity ball in Holsworthy attended by 120 people. He said: "I have more fundraisers lined up and I can't wait to raise more money."
Professor Andy Hall, chairman of the trust's independent scientific advisory panel, said primary bone cancer symptoms can include painful bones or swollen joints, which GPs can misdiagnose as a sporting injury or "growing pains".
He said: "Primary bone cancer is, thankfully, very rare but it is vital it is diagnosed early to give patients the best chance of survival.
"The average time it takes for a primary bone cancer patient to receive a correct diagnosis is 16 weeks from when they first noticed their symptoms. An X-ray, done early, can make all the difference."