Wise Up to Cancer

Yorkshire Cancer Research funds a community health programme called
‘Wise Up To Cancer’. 

The programme aims to:

Lower cancer risk by promoting healthy lifestyles

Spot cancer early by encouraging people to take part in their cancer screening and look out for cancer signs and symptoms

Working with GP Surgeries in Wakefield

Yorkshire Cancer Research is working with Wakefield Council’s Public Health service, NHS Wakefield CCG and the Wakefield Health Alliance to encourage more people to take part in the national screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancer.

The charity's Wise Up To Cancer community health programme is being delivered in partnership with 16 GP practices across Wakefield and the surrounding areas. These practices are in ‘hot spot’ areas, where many people are diagnosed with cancer but participation in screening is low. The two-year programme uses specially trained ‘cancer facilitators’ who are working closely with the practices to support them in identifying and contacting people who have not taken part in screening when invited.

The goal to is reach the estimated 25,000 people who have not taken advantage of screening across the Wakefield GP practices involved in the programme.


The Wise Up To Cancer programme supports South Asian women living in Bradford. In partnership with the University of Bradford, South Asian women are being offered a ‘chat about health’ in community and pharmacy settings. The programme also offers further support to help women attend screening appointments if their screening is overdue. 

The chats in local community venues are delivered by community health champion volunteers who are local South Asian women provided with training at the University. The chats held in pharmacies are delivered by dedicated members of the pharmacy team called ‘pharmacy health champions’. They are supported by Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire.

The project also involves two GP practices in Bradford - The Ridge Medical Practice and Avicenna Medical Practice - who are sending text messages, making phone calls and talking with women who have not taken part in cancer screening when previously invited. 

Researchers at the University of Bradford will evaluate the programme to assess how effective it has been in increasing participation in screening to help identify cancers sooner, and how it can be improved to save more lives. 

The Bradford project was made possible thanks to the support of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which provided a £216,000 award through its Tampon Tax Fund.

We chatted to Sunrise Radio, Asian hit radio station, explaining how the Wise Up To Cancer Scheme works in the Bradford area. Take a listen here.

Leeds and Wakefield Pilot Project

Wise Up To Cancer was piloted in community settings in the Leeds area and pharmacies in the Wakefield area in 2017. The project was carried out in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire and Barca Leeds.

1,347 people took part in health checks, which involved questions about lifestyle, knowledge of cancer signs and symptoms and participation in screening. 

If required, participants were asked to set goals regarding lifestyle behaviours, such as reducing alcohol intake, and to take steps towards completing their screening. They were also signposted to relevant services and advised to see their GP if they were experiencing potential cancer symptoms. 

Participants were then followed up by researchers at Leeds Beckett University to see how effective the programme had been. 

Lower your cancer risk

Our risk of getting cancer depends on many things we don’t have control over, such as our genes and age. But it is also influenced by lifestyle factors which we can change. 4 in 10 cancers could be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. 


To lower cancer risk we can:


Drink less


Stay safe
in the sun

Be a healthy


Spot cancer early

Finding cancer early makes it easier to treat and gives a better chance of full recovery. To help spot cancer early you can:

1. Take part in cancer screening

2. Look out for signs and symptoms
It is important to know your body and check yourself for any changes. Talk to your doctor if you notice any cancer signs and symptoms.

Please click on the links below to view our leaflets, which give more information on the following topics:

Bowel Screening

Breast Screening

Cervical Screening


Healthy Weight

Sun Awareness

For more information on our Wise Up To Cancer programme, please email services@ycr.org.uk.