Yorkshire Cancer Research Announces £2m of Funding for Cancer Prevention Work in Leeds

15 July 2019

Cancer prevention and early diagnosis in Leeds will receive an investment of £2m thanks to Yorkshire Cancer Research. Delivered in partnership with Leeds City Council, the funding will significantly drive cancer prevention and early diagnosis strategies across the Leeds Cancer Programme’s Prevention, Screening and Awareness work. 

Yorkshire Cancer Research will work with lead partner Leeds City Council to develop local projects to improve participation in the national screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancers in Leeds. Screening uptake rates in Leeds vary across the many diverse communities and it is recognised that approaches and techniques to encourage screening may differ from one community to the next.  Initially, the project will focus mainly in areas of deprivation in Leeds that have traditionally had low screening uptake with the aim of providing true equity of access to healthcare for all patients. 

Screening uptake rates in Leeds vary across the many diverse communities.

Funding from Yorkshire Cancer Research will enable a city-wide infrastructure to be put in place to ensure that people who do not take up their screening invitation, or find hard to engage in traditional cancer services, are targeted and followed-up. Leeds City Council (Public Health) will manage the ambitious programme and also provide project and communications support. 

A delivery team will be procured from partners to recruit up to 18 ‘Screening and Awareness Coordinators’ to increase the number of people completing screening tests in Leeds. By ensuring screening tests are completed, cancer can be diagnosed at the earliest possible stage, increasing the chances of curable treatment. The programme will also ensure people are aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer and lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of cancer. 

Dr Stuart Griffiths, Director of Research and Services at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Leeds Cancer Programme to increase participation in the three national screening programmes and raise awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer and risk factors. Early diagnosis saves lives. It’s vital that we work in local communities to support people in completing their tests. We’d like to thank the charity’s supporters for making this unique initiative possible.”

Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Health, said: “This is welcome additional funding to support prevention, awareness and increased uptake of cancer screening in Leeds. It will play an important part in our commitment to increase the health of the poorest fastest and a city wide focus on addressing health inequalities which often result in poor cancer outcomes.

“Screening provides a vital role in detecting cancers early and we know there are many people who have been able to have prompt and effective treatment because of it.”

This project will complement an existing project funded by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group where 50 GP practices in the city’s most deprived areas have received some funded time from a  ‘Bowel Cancer Screening Champion’ to follow up people who had not completed their screening test. Of the 4,311 people followed up by the champions since June 2018, 1089 people went on to complete the test that might otherwise have not done so. Alongside this, the project also complements Leeds City Council’s commissioning of The Leeds Cancer Awareness Service. 

This three-year ambition is one of many projects within the Leeds Cancer Programme to reduce cancer mortality rates in Leeds, reduce cancers diagnosed at emergency admissions in Leeds, and lower the staging of cancer at diagnosis. 

Leeds Cancer Programme is a dynamic partnership between Leeds City Council, Macmillan Cancer Support and the NHS in Leeds to transform cancer services in Leeds.

Yorkshire Cancer Research is Yorkshire’s very own cancer charity, helping people in Yorkshire avoid and survive cancer.



Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email: nikki@ycr.org.uk 

Mary Webb, Communications Lead, Leeds Cancer Programme; mary.webb@nhs.net, 07775 548893. www.leedscancerprogramme.org.uk @LeedsCancerProg

Notes to Editors

Cancer screening uptake performance for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group is:
• Bowel Screening Uptake (Extended Age Range (60-74)): 59.16% (National Target: 60%) - September 2018
• Breast Screening (Standard Age Range (50-70)): 71.22% (National Target: 80%) – August 2018
• Cervical Screening (Target Age Range (25-64))- 72.41% (National Target: 80%) -December 2018

Notes to Editors

  • Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
  • We are committed to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
  • Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
  • Current statistics show that 583 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
  • We aim to:
    • Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
    • Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
    • Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
    • Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient's journey.
  • For further information, please visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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