People living in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw will be supported to take up their cancer screening invitations through a new programme led by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS Cancer Alliance and Yorkshire Cancer Research.
The two organisations have worked together to launch the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Champions Programme, which aims to tackle health inequalities across the region by reducing variation in screening rates within South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.
Primary care staff, appointed as Yorkshire Cancer Research Cancer Champions, will drive forward cancer prevention and early diagnosis by delivering a range of activities to raise awareness of the importance of screening and encourage more people to take up their invitations.
Planned with local healthcare partners including GPs, the three-year programme will be delivered across GP Practices in Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
The programme is being supported by £1.1 million in funding from Yorkshire Cancer Research as part of the regional, independent charity’s aim to save lives through prevention and early diagnosis.
Dr Stephanie Edgar, GP and a Deputy Clinical Lead at the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS Cancer Alliance, said:
“Our aim is to prevent cancer and increase the amount of people diagnosed at an early stage so that there are more treatment options available and more chances of living a long, healthy life post-treatment.
“We’re excited to be working with Yorkshire Cancer Research in developing our community of Cancer Champions, who will have a unique opportunity to use their local knowledge to connect with their communities to raise awareness of screening and support people in making and attending appointments.”
The goal of the programme is to increase the number of people taking up their screening invitations in South Yorkshire by more than 70,000 by 2025.
NHS screening programmes are available for bowel, breast and cervical cancer; however, participation varies significantly between different areas and communities within South Yorkshire.
Breast screening saves 1,300 lives each year in the UK¹, while an estimated 2,400 deaths from bowel cancer are avoided through screening each year in the UK¹,². Cervical screening is estimated to save 5,000 lives each year in the UK. Based on these figures, Yorkshire Cancer Research estimates that approximately 200 lives are saved through screening in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw each year³.
Dr Stuart Griffiths, Director of Research at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said:
“Screening can help to detect and prevent cancer in people before symptoms appear, so it’s extremely important that we do all we can to encourage more people to take part. By working with local communities to find unique solutions, we can make a real difference and save more lives in Yorkshire.”
¹ Marmot, M.G., Altman, D.G., Cameron, D.A., Dewar, J.A., Thompson, S.G., Wilcox, M. and The Independent UK Panel on Breast Cancer Screening. 2013. The benefits and harms of breast cancer screening: an independent review. British Journal of Cancer. 108(11), pp.2205-2240.
² Parkin, D.M., Tappenden, P., Olsen, A.H., Patnick, J. and Sasieni, P. 2008. Predicting the impact of the screening programme for colorectal cancer in the UK. Journal of Medical Screening. 15(4), pp.163-174.
³ Peto, J., Gilham, C., Fletcher, O. and Matthews, F.E. 2004, The cervical cancer epidemic that screening has prevented in the UK. Lancet. 364(9430), pp.249-256.