The new football season is underway and we wish Doncaster Rovers well as they try to bounce back into the Championship next year.
Sport is an important part of many people’s life locally and I’m delighted to say that we’re renewing our partnership with Rovers this season to target three cancers that we need to do better at diagnosing earlier in Doncaster.
We’ve found that Doncaster men need to raise their game in order to detect the tell-tale signs of bowel, lung and prostate cancer so they can give themselves a fighting chance of beating the disease. So this season we have teamed up with the club to promote Be clear on cancer, a campaign which flags up to fans the warning signs they need to look out for.
I’m delighted to be the GP ambassador for the campaign.
Last year we had some great results from a campaign we ran with the club to raise awareness of prostate cancer. It led to more than 100 Doncaster men having their first treatment for some form of urological cancer compared to the same period the previous year – an increase of 50 per cent.
This season we want to target local men again and we’re expanding the campaign to include spotting the signs of bowel and lung cancer as well as prostate. In addition, we’ll also be focussing on female fans and their friends and relatives, asking them to be aware of the signs of lung cancer as Doncaster women also tend to be slower than other parts of the country in recognising them and contacting their GP
Men are particularly hard to target with health campaigns but there is evidence of similar positive results from other parts of the country where football clubs have been a key partner.
With Rovers’ help we’re focussing on a different one of the cancers at each of three home fixtures with Yorkshire sides during the season: Saturday Novemeber 15, 2014 - Sheffield Utd, Bowel: blood in your poo or it has been looser? Saturday January 17, 2015 - Barnsley, Lung: coughing for three weeks or more? Friday April 3, 2015 - Bradford, Prostate: need to pee more often?
I’m delighted to say that the game against Sheffield Utd will feature long-time fan and cancer survivor, Richard Rimmington, who is also a Rovers lottery agent. Richard, aged 62, from Town Moor, started supporting the club 50 years ago and has been a season ticket holder for many years. He had a successful operation for bowel cancer three years ago and is now a member of a local ‘survivorship’ group that is helping to influence how cancer support services are provided in Doncaster.
A key element of the campaign will be to get fans involved via match programmes, social media sites and the club’s website. Please spread the word and visit our website to find out more, even if you’re not a football fan: http://www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/2363/clearoncancer/
* Nick Tupper, chairman of Doncaster clinical commissioning group.