A health awareness campaign fronted by Doncaster Rovers players has proved to be in a league of its own by helping dozens of male fans to get early diagnosis and fast access to cancer treatment.
Figures just released by NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) show that in the six months following the campaign 100 more Doncaster men had their first treatment for some form of urological cancer, including prostate, compared to the same period last year – an increase of 50 per cent.
New figures reveal that over 30 more Doncaster men have had a first course of treatment for prostate cancer – an increase of 30 per cent compared to the same six months last year.
The campaign, which ran in March this year, encouraged Rovers’ fans to look for the warning signs of prostate cancer and to seek medical help if they found them. Doncaster has the highest rate of prostate cancer in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw with around 200 new cases being diagnosed, and 50 people dying from the disease, each year.
CCG Chair Dr Nick Tupper, who went along to Rovers’ Cantley Park training ground last season to help promote the campaign, said the impact has been fantastic.
He said: “To help us evaluate, we compared the referral and treatment activity that took place in the six months after the campaign with the same period in 2012. Doctors referred over 100 more men for symptoms of prostate cancer and over 350 more prostate cancer tests were carried out over that period. Early diagnosis and early treatment is a key factor in achieving a better health outcome for cancer patients.
Men are particularly difficult to target but there is evidence of similar positive impacts from other parts of the country where football clubs have been used to raise awareness of prostate cancer.
“The campaign cost less than £1000 and was delivered through various means, including local media, match day programmes and announcements, posters, videos, Rovers’ website and fan sites, with players having a key awareness raising role. We’re grateful for the support the club’s Community Sports and Education Foundation has given and continues to give to raise awareness of the symptoms amongst its fan base.”