When cancer is found early it’s often easier to treat, with more options available. Overall, screening rates in Yorkshire are in line with national averages, but in some areas as few as three in 10 people go for screening when invited. We want to improve these rates.
The aim of screening is to find cancers early when they are too small to see or feel, or to detect cells that, if left untreated, could develop into a cancer in the future. There are three national screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer.
We’re working with Bradford City CCG (an NHS body responsible for the planning of health care services) to encourage people across Bradford and Airedale to attend their bowel cancer screening when invited. People who don’t complete their screening will receive a follow-up phone call from trained translation service staff at Enable 2 who will be able to discuss screening with people in their native language. This kind of tailored approach is important in multicultural areas like Bradford, especially as Bradford City CCG has the lowest bowel cancer screening rate in England.
We have invested £5.8m in the UK’s largest lung cancer screening trial, which is carried out in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Leeds. It will screen those at high risk of developing lung cancer, for example smokers and ex-smokers, before they experience symptoms. A U.S. study has shown this technique to reduce the likelihood of dying from lung cancer by up to 20%.
Screening will be carried out in mobile vans which will travel to communities around Leeds. The results could be used to plan a national programme and give more people the best chance of being diagnosed early so that they survive their cancer.
In its first year, the mobile screening unit carried out over 3,000, detecting more than 40 lung cancers and helping patients receive life saving treatment.