Yorkshire Cancer Research Launches New Community Health Programme

17 February 2017

YORKSHIRE Cancer Research has today (Friday, 17 February 2017) launched a new community health programme aimed at improving cancer outcomes in the region.

The ‘Wise Up To Cancer’ programme, funded by a £160,000 investment, will be piloted in West Leeds in partnership with community organisation Barca-Leeds and Leeds Beckett University.

The initiative 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 and raising awareness of signs and symptoms. 

People living in West Leeds areas including Kirkstall, Woodhouse, Little London, Armley, Wortley, Farnley, Bramley and Stanningley will have the opportunity to take part in free health checks and receive health information in community settings such as community centres, shopping centres, workplaces and summer galas.

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. 

The programme was officially launched at a family fun day at Bramley Shopping Centre. The event included health checks carried out by community health educators, health information, children’s activities and a visit from Leeds Rhinos’ mascot Ronnie.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Interim Chief Executive 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 also 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 10,563 people in Leeds West CCG living with or beyond cancer 1, with 30 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. 18.5% of the population – around 113,200 people - in Leeds are smokers, compared to the national average of 16.9% 3.

Many of the GP surgeries based in the local areas selected for the Wise Up To Cancer project have screening rates below the national average. Just 37% of patients aged 60-69 at one Leeds West CCG GP surgery took part in bowel screening during 2015/16 - significantly lower than the England average of 56.7% 4.

People living in Leeds West 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.

Barca-Leeds is a multi-purpose charity based in West Leeds that aims to help people and communities overcome the consequences of deprivation no matter what their circumstances.

Mark Law MBE, Chief Executive at the organisation, said: “I am very pleased that Barca-Leeds is going to be working in partnership with Yorkshire Cancer Research. Cancer is a disease that affects many people with particularly high cases in the West Leeds area. However through healthy lifestyles and earlier diagnosis there is an increase in likelihood of better health outcomes.

“The Wise Up To Cancer project is a great opportunity for Barca-Leeds to deliver outreach work with the local community to help tackle health inequalities and help reduce the impact of cancer in the local area.”

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, Accessed [January 2017]. 
4.    Public Health England, National General Practice Profiles – Practice Summary, http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/general-practice/data, Accessed [January 2017]
5.    NCIN, Routes to diagnosis 2006-2013 workbook (b), http://www.ncin.org.uk/publications/routes_to_diagnosis, Accessed [April 2016].
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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