Cancer crusaders to take to the streets

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A CRACK team of volunteers are taking to the streets of Doncaster to teach shoppers how to spot the early symptoms of cancer.

Doncaster is in the top 25 per cent of primary care trusts in the country for the number of new cancer cases and the lowest 25 per cent for breast and bowel cancer survival rates.

Now a team of NHS Doncaster community champions have been given the job of raising the profile of the illness and making sure people are aware of the early symptoms of cancer.

The 20 volunteers, along with representatives from NHS Doncaster, will be based in Frenchgate Shopping Centre from 9am and 5pm where they will chat to passers by.

They will also be handing out short quiz to help raise awareness of the three most common cancers affecting the region.

These are lung, bowel and breast cancer.

The community champions each have a personal reason for getting involved and have undergone training to enable them to understand the issues and potential symptoms.

Health bosses hope the new scheme will help improve the cancer survival figures and the number of people being diagnosed.

Louise Robson, an NHS Doncaster advanced health improvement practitioner said: “We are hoping our champions will spread the word through their friends, families, peers and communities to help people detect these three cancers at an early stage, giving a much greater chance of recovery.

“Although the number of cancer deaths in Doncaster has fallen over the past 10 years, they are still above the national average and we want to improve survival rates as much as we can.

“We want as many people as possible to take part in our quiz, which is designed to help them spot the early symptoms of cancer.”

The community champions, who are based across Doncaster, come from a wide range of different backgrounds and are a variety of ages.

Many have suffered cancer personally or know a relative who has developed the disease.

The NHS Doncaster stand will be based on the Frenchgate’s upper mall, near Debenhams.

The community champions will also be chatting to people in the town centre.

If you think you may be suffering from a symptom of cancer, make an appointment to see your GP as early as possible.

n For more information on the different types of cancer and the likely symptoms, talk to your GP.