Yorkshire Cancer Research Expands Community Health Programme to Include Wakefield District Pharmacies

12 May 2017

Yorkshire Cancer Research has expanded its new community health programme to include the Wakefield district.

The ‘Wise Up To Cancer’ programme, funded by a £160,000 investment by the charity and developed in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, is aimed at improving cancer outcomes in the region. 

The initiative was launched in Leeds earlier this year, where community organisation Barca-Leeds is carrying out health checks in community settings within deprived areas. 

The programme is now being carried out in 10 community pharmacies in the Wakefield district in partnership with Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire. 

The programme aims to:

•    Reduce the number of people who get cancer by promoting healthy lifestyles.
•    Ensure more people survive cancer through early diagnosis by:
-    increasing participation in the national screening programmes for bowel,
     breast and cervical cancer
-    raising awareness of signs and symptoms.

People living in the area will have the opportunity to take part in ‘Wise Up To Cancer’ health checks and receive health information at the participating pharmacies. Researchers at Leeds Beckett University will then analyse the impact of health checks and determine how the programme can be improved. If successful, the project will be rolled out across the region. 

Lisa Trickett, Community Health Initiatives Manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “While we have made significant improvements in survival rates, the number of people in Yorkshire living with and beyond cancer is set to almost double by 2030. This means that it is now vital that we invest in projects aimed at preventing cancer and making sure that those who do get cancer are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage. 

“Four in 10 cancers could be prevented through lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, eating well, drinking less alcohol, being active and staying safe in the sun. While most people understand that smoking can cause cancer, not everyone knows that factors like alcohol and being overweight can increase your risk of developing the disease. 

“At the same time, increasing the number of people who are diagnosed at an early stage will have a huge impact on cancer survival rates. Finding cancer early means treatment options are greater and the chance of survival is higher.”

There are an estimated 12,540 people in Wakefield CCG living with or beyond cancer 1, with 38 people being diagnosed every week 2. Tens of thousands of people in the area currently participate in behaviours that are associated with an increased risk of developing cancer. Wakefield has the second highest smoking rate in Yorkshire. 21.9% of the population -- approximately 57,920 people - are smokers, compared to the national average of 16.9% 3.

Many of the GP surgeries close to the pharmacies selected for the Wise Up To Cancer project have screening rates below the national average. Just 44% of patients aged 60-69 at one GP surgery took part in bowel screening during 2015/16 - significantly lower than the England average of 56.7% 4.  

People living in Wakefield CCG are also more likely to be diagnosed with breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer through emergency routes, such as A&E or emergency GP referral, indicating a lack of awareness of signs and symptoms 5. Patients diagnosed with cancer through an emergency route are more likely to be diagnosed at a late stage 6, which can mean that treatment options are limited and chances of survival are lower.

Ruth Buchan, Chief Executive Officer at Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our community pharmacy teams to offer free Wise Up To Cancer health checks to their local communities.  Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire is really pleased to be working with Yorkshire Cancer Research and Wise Up To Cancer builds on the health and well-being advice already offered by community pharmacy.”  

Ruth added: "The pharmacy teams involved in offering Wise Up To Cancer have received additional training and the checks will be carried out in a private consultation room.  We would encourage patients who would like a Wise Up To Cancer check, to ask at one of the pharmacies taking part in the project."

The 10 pharmacies taking part in the project are:

•    Cohens Chemist, Station Lane, Featherstone
•    Lloyds Pharmacy, Trinity Medical Centre, Thornhill Street, Wakefield
•    Lloyds Pharmacy, Carlton Street, Castleford
•    Lloyds Pharmacy, Tieve Tara Surgery, Park Dale, Castleford
•    Lloyds Pharmacy, Wrangbrook Road, Upton
•    Lloyds Pharmacy, Stockingate, South Kirby
•    Rowlands Pharmacy, High Street, Ferrybridge, Knottingley
•    Rowlands Pharmacy, Barnsley Road, South Elmsall
•    Sharlston Pharmacy, Weeland Road, Sharlston
•    Whitworth Pharmacy, Kinsley Medical Centre, Wakefield Road, Kinsley 

The Wise Up To Cancer initiative was spearheaded by Nigel Hughes, Head of Public Health and Engagement at Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire. Nigel, 53, sadly passed away from a heart attack on January 5th this year. His wife Ruth attended the official launch of the project in his memory. 

Ruth said: “Nigel was so passionate about the Wise Up To Cancer project and about the role of community pharmacies in addressing cancer prevention, screening and early diagnosis. I hope that his enthusiasm for the initiative will inspire those involved to make the project a success even though he is no longer with us.”

Nigel’s family requested that Yorkshire Cancer Research receive donations in memory of Nigel and to date over £2,500 has been donated to the charity.

For more information about the Wise Up To Cancer programme, please visit www.ycr.org.uk/wiseuptocancer




  1. Local Cancer Intelligence, Cancer Prevalence, http://lci.cancertoolkit.co.uk/Prevalence
  2. CancerData, Incidence, https://www.cancerdata.nhs.uk/incidence,
  3. Public Health England, Public Health Profiles, Health Profiles, Adults’ health and lifestyle – “Smoking prevalence”, http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/health-profiles,
  4. Public Health England, National General Practice Profiles – Practice Summary, http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/general-practice/data
  5. NCIN, Routes to diagnosis 2006-2013 workbook (b), http://www.ncin.org.uk/publications/routes_to_diagnosis
  6. NCIN, Routes to diagnosis of cancer by stage 2012-2013, http://www.ncin.org.uk/publications/survival_by_stage  


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

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 575 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.
    • Campaign for fair and equal access to the very best healthcare services and a greater share of the money spent nationally on research.
  • For further information, please visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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