Town campaign launched to spot cancer signs earlier

A NEW campaign with the aim of detecting cancer symptoms earlier has been launched in Doncaster – which is currently among the bottom quarter of health trusts in the country when it comes to survival rates for breast and bowel cancer.

NHS Doncaster is also in the top 25 per cent of health trusts for the number of new cancer cases that are diagnosed and the health of people in the town is “generally worse than the England average”, according to health chiefs.

As a result, NHS Doncaster says it wants to “harness the power of the local community” and will recruit “community champions” to raise awareness of early signs of lung, bowel and breast cancer. The community champions will be trained to deliver workshops and spread information on how to spot symptoms early.

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

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

“We want to stress the importance of catching cancer early and make this a subject that people feel comfortable talking to each other about.”

Doncaster GP Mark Boon, from Conisbrough Group Practice, added: “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.”