Champion way to cut cancer

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A COMMUNITY campaign to cut cancer deaths and help the borough’s residents detect symptoms of the disease earlier has been launched by NHS Doncaster.

The campaign comes as Doncaster scored a below-average health rating and aims to help residents understand if they are at risk, spot potential cancer symptoms and encourage them to visit their GPs if they have a symptom.

NHS Doncaster wants to harness the power of the local community to help them spread the word and hope to use volunteer “community champions” to raise awareness of early signs of the three most common cancers affecting the region - lung, bowel and breast cancer.

If these types of cancer can be detected early enough, the patient’s chances of survival are significantly increased.

The community champions will be trained to deliver workshops and spread the word through communities about the importance of learning to spot the signs and catch cancer early.

An extensive public relations and social media campaign will also help to reinforce the message.

“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,” said Dr Rupert Suckling, deputy director of public health at NHS Doncaster.

“Research has shown that men, in particular, will put off visiting their doctor with any suspected symptoms, because of their fear of what may be found there or difficulties in getting along to an appointment. ”

Dr Mark Boon, of Conisbrough Group Practice, said: “It is important that our communities pull together to help cut cancer in the region. Doncaster is in the top 25 per cent of primary care trusts in the country for its numbers of new cancer cases and sadly is in the lowest 25 per cent for breast and bowel cancer survival rates.

“Our community champions really can help save lives and we are looking for some passionate people who want to help make a difference in their area.

“They will need to have a few hours spare per week and it would be helpful if they have been affected by cancer, either personally or in terms of family or friends and want to help spread the word to others.”

To register as a community champion contact The Hub on 0161 235 8455 or email info@socialchange-hub.co.uk.