A new website to support healthcare and community professionals in starting conversations about screening for breast, bowel and cervical cancers with people living in Cheshire and Merseyside has been launched.
Every year, around 1,200 people are diagnosed with cancer in Warrington and 540 are killed by the disease in the town. Data shows that approximately 38% of people at risk of breast cancer are not attending screenings, along with 31% of those at risk of bowel cancer and 26% of those at risk of cervical cancer in Warrington.
By promoting relaxed conversations about how screening works, Champs Public Health Collaborative, led by the nine Directors of Public Health and the Cheshire & Merseyside Cancer Alliance hope to bring those numbers down.
The Early detect, Early protect website has been created to educate and empower everyone from GPs to community nurses, community professionals and volunteers so they can start more early conversations about screening with the people they see every day.
The aim of the website is to help thousands more people make informed choices about the screening options available to them and help save lives.
Tracey Wright, Associate Director, Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, said:
“Community and healthcare professionals are in a unique position to help inform people in our subregion about their cancer risks and the screening available to them. But we understand that starting those conversations isn’t going to be easy for everyone. The new toolkit and website should make sure anyone, regardless of their role, have the resources and confidence to boost the conversation about screening.”
Thara Raj, Director Public Health at Warrington Borough Council, said:
“Screening is currently offered for breast cancer, bowel cancer and cervical cancer. Screening helps to detect cancer or signs of cancer and the earlier we can identify this, the earlier we can start treatment.”
Mammogram X-ray tests can spot cancers too small to see or feel and while cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer in females in the UK, research from 2015 indicates that 99.8% of cases are preventable. However, some people are unsure what screening involves or miss their routine appointment, increasing the risk that a condition will develop undetected.
Research shows that approximately 30% of people at risk of breast cancer are not attending screenings, along with 40% of those at risk of bowel cancer and 25% of those at risk of cervical cancer in Cheshire and Merseyside.
A conversation with the right person at the right time can therefore make all the difference and speaking to a trusted member of the healthcare profession can grow understanding and public awareness of a subject many of us try to avoid.
The new website contains a range of information and resources for healthcare and community professionals to help start the discussion on and offline with members of the public, and will be supported by a social media campaign.