Category

Awareness and Early Diagnosis

NHS launches awareness campaign in Humber and North Yorkshire for England’s most deadly cancer

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, National Campaigns | No Comments

The NHS in Humber and North Yorkshire is encouraging people with symptoms such as a long-standing persistent cough, to contact their GP practice for potentially lifesaving checks in its latest campaign to catch lung cancer earlier when it is easier to treat.

The launch of the latest Help Us Help You campaign comes after figures suggest that people at risk of lung cancer may not be coming forward for care despite lung cancer being the biggest cause of cancer deaths in England.

While most cancer referrals quickly returned to pre-pandemic levels after the first wave of COVID-19, lung cancer referrals only returned to pre-pandemic levels in May 2022.

Cancer health chiefs are warning the public to contact their GP team if they have had a persistent cough for longer than three weeks or notice other symptoms like coughing up blood or persistent breathlessness.

Lung cancer is one of the most serious type of cancers and last year was the fifth biggest cause of death in England accounting for 26,410 deaths.

Thanks to national awareness campaigns and early diagnosis initiatives, one in every four GP referrals are now for suspected cancer and the NHS is seeing record numbers of people getting checked for cancer. Over 5.3 million people were referred between June 2021 and May 2022, and over 670,000 have started treatment since March 2020.

The latest campaign will target the groups of people most at risk including over 60s, as well as people who are often more reluctant to visit their GP practice, which is critical to getting an early diagnosis.

Professor Peter Johnson, National Clinical Director for Cancer said: “It is vital that people stay alert against suspected lung cancer symptoms, so if you have a continuous cough or breathlessness, don’t ignore or assume it’s something else, please visit your GP and get it checked out – it probably won’t be cancer but catching it early can help save lives”.

The NHS ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign will run across TV, video-on-demand services such as ITV Hub, radio, and social media over the next few months to spread awareness of lung cancer symptoms.

Cally Palmer, NHS England National Cancer Director said: “We know for a fact most people who get diagnosed with lung cancer early go on to survive so it is imperative that people are aware of the symptoms and come forward as quickly as possible.

“The NHS is here to help and our services are open so people should not hesitate to come forward if they notice potential lung cancer symptoms”.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “The ‘Help Us Help You’ initiative is empowering people to come forward for screening – particularly for lung cancer.

“I want to thank all those that continue to be involved in this life-saving campaign, which aims to increase the number of cancer patients diagnosed at earlier stages from half to three-quarters by 2028.

“If you have any of the key symptoms set out by the NHS, I urge you to see your GP without delay to get checked out – early diagnosis is absolutely vital to beat this disease”.

The NHS is also working with a leading lung cancer charity – the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to run local awareness raising campaigns, as well as working with the foundation to rapidly expand the Targeted Lung Health Check Programme, currently in operation in Hull, which screen people at risk of developing lung cancer.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “It is absolutely vital that if you are experiencing symptoms like a persistent cough or shortness of breath that you take action and contact your GP team. Don’t put it off. Don’t presume it’s nothing to worry about. Don’t worry about bothering your doctors. It is always best to check because if it is lung cancer, catching it early can make all the difference.”

Hear from local Hull residents who’ve benefitted from the Targeted Lung Health Check Programme and caught symptoms early enough for effective treatment.

The new lung cancer campaign is the latest drive by the NHS to deliver world-class cancer care and restore cancer services following the pandemic.

Earlier this year NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard announced a revolutionary drug, atezolizumab, for lung cancer patients thanks to an NHS England brokered deal which helps reduce the chance of lung cancer reappearing or death by 34%.

The NHS this year also secured access to durvalumab, which can help double how long somebody can survive an aggressive form of lung cancer, as well as, mobocertinib, which will help hundreds of patients tackle a rare form of lung cancer which can’t be removed by surgery.

Last month (July 2022), the NHS announced a breakthrough treatment for people with respiratory cancer, which is set to benefit around 1,000 patients a year in England.

Back in March an NHS campaign was backed by Boxers, Love Island and Killing Eve stars, to encourage people to come forward to get checked if they have potential cancer symptoms.

The NHS has also awarded £10 million to pioneering new cancer innovations to help improve cancer diagnosis across England.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to increasing the proportion of cancers caught early, when they are easier to treat, from half to three in four.

 

picture of a nurse and man using scanner

NHS Targeted Lung Health Check service moves to East Hull

By | Announcements, Awareness and Early Diagnosis | No Comments

A high-tech mobile screening unit, which is helping to save lives through earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and other conditions, has moved to East Hull.

The NHS Targeted Lung Health Check Programme invites past and current smokers aged between 55 and 74 who live in Hull and are registered with a Hull GP to a free lung health check, to identify potential lung problems early so effective and early treatment can be provided.

The unit’s relocation from North Hull to Morrisons supermarket on Holderness Road will see approximately 10,000 people in East Hull invited for a lung health check within their local community.Unit at Morrisons on Holderness Road

The NHS Targeted Lung Health Check Programme supports the NHS Long Term Plan ambition of detecting more cancers at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat.

Thousands of people have been invited for a lung health check since the programme launched in Hull in January 2020, with around 10,500 assessments and 7,000 scans carried out during this time. In the small percentage where cancer is detected, many have been found at an earlier stage, which is likely to result in better outcomes for the patient.

The lung health check takes place in two stages. The first is an initial phone assessment with a specially trained respiratory nurse. If the assessment finds the person to be at high risk, they will be offered a low dose CT scan of the lungs for further investigation at the mobile unit.

Those eligible for a lung health check in East Hull will receive an invite from their GP over the coming weeks and are strongly urged to take up the offer.

Dr Stuart Baugh, Clinical Director for the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check Programme in Hull, said: “There are often no signs or symptoms of lung cancer at an early stage and as a result seven in 10 patients are diagnosed too late.

“Early intervention can make a huge difference with a CT scan three times more likely to support a diagnosis of cancer at an early stage, often before symptoms occur. It can also spot other lung and chest conditions, meaning that people can get help and support for conditions they may not even have realised they have.”

Dr Kanwal Tariq, Consultant in Chest Medicine at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Since the screening programme started, people across Hull have shown a real interest in and enthusiasm for lung health checks, and we hope this will be repeated as the mobile unit moves to the east of the city.

“Many participants won’t need to have a scan, just a chat with a friendly lung specialist respiratory nurse which involves discussing any potential risk factors, any current chest problems and then some useful advice on keeping the lungs healthy. If a CT scan is needed, the team will make that as quick and straight forward as possible.”

The first GP practices in East Hull to invite patients to attend screening are East Hull Family Practice, East Park Practice, Laurbel Surgery and Dr Weir – based at Marfleet Primary Healthcare Centre.

Dr Masood Balouch, an East Hull GP, said: “It is very encouraging to see hundreds of people attending for their lung health checks every month. As a local GP, working in the East Hull area for many years, I urge all eligible patients to take up the offer of a lung health check straight away. Please call to book your lung health check when you get your invitation letter through from your practice.

“Early detection of cancer not only allows earlier treatment and support for people, it also helps to improve their long-term health outcomes.”

If you are registered with a GP practice in East Hull and receive a lung health check invite, don’t ignore it – book your appointment today. Contact your GP if you if you think you are experiencing symptoms of lung cancer.

The NHS Lung Health Check Programme will be launching in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire during early 2023. Find out more about lung health checks in Hull at www.lunghealthcheck.org.uk.

Cervical Screening Awareness Week

Cervical Screening Awareness Week

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Champions | No Comments

Cervical Screening Awareness Week (20-26 June) is championed by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and raises the profile of cervical screening by sharing tips and experiences for those who find accessing screening appointments difficult.

To mark Cervical Screening Awareness Week, the Cancer Alliance is offering free bitesize cervical screening awareness sessions to people living in Humber and North Yorkshire. The sessions will teach people about:

  • • the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer
  • • HPV and the HPV vaccination programme
  • • what happens at a cervical screening test
  • • hints, tips and experiences that will help women and people with a cervix feel more able to book a test

To sign up for a free 30-minute session, please click here

For more information about the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, please visit.

3,000 people could benefit from ‘life saving checks’ as NHS lung health check service moves to Tesco Superstore in Orchard Park

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Diagnosis and Innovations | No Comments

3,000 people could benefit from ‘life saving checks’ as NHS lung health check service moves to Tesco Superstore in Orchard Park

A high-tech mobile screening unit, which is helping to save lives through earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and other conditions, has just arrived at Tesco Superstore on Hall Road in Orchard Park.

The relocation of the NHS lung health check unit marks the start of approximately 3,000 more people being invited to attend the service, which offers those at increased risk of lung cancer an MOT for their lungs.

The NHS lung health check service originally launched in west Hull in January 2020 and has since delivered over 8,700 assessments, helped to diagnose cancer and other respiratory diseases at an early stage, and provided opportunities for earlier treatment that has saved people’s lives.

Current and former smokers who live in Hull, are aged from 55 to 74 and are registered with a GP in the north Hull area, will receive a lung health check invitation from their GP over the next few weeks.

The lung health check takes place in two stages. The first is an initial phone assessment with a specially trained respiratory nurse.

Christine (left) and Danny (right) sat on a bench outdoors.

Danny (right) received curative treatment after his lung health check helped to identify lung cancer early.

If the assessment finds the person to be at high risk, they will be offered a low dose CT scan of the lungs for further investigation.

The CT scanner is housed on board a high-tech mobile screening unit that has previously been located at North Point Shopping Centre in north Hull and Lidl in west Hull. As the service moves around the city, participants who wish to stop smoking are also offered expert support and advice.

Dr Masood Balouch, a local GP and NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group Board member, said: “Having supported many patients with advanced lung cancer, I know how vitally important it is to book your lung health check appointment when invited, even if you feel fine.

“Lung cancer is commonly diagnosed at a late stage as there often no symptoms in the earliest stages, but lung health checks are helping us to spot cancer earlier, often before symptoms occur.

“If you are registered with a GP practice in north Hull and receive a lung health check invite, don’t ignore it – book your appointment straight away. If you are experiencing symptoms of lung cancer, contact your GP straight away and do not wait for a lung health check.”

Dr Gavin Anderson, Responsible Clinician for NHS Targeted Lung Health Checks in Hull, said: “Following an initial telephone assessment with a specialised respiratory nurse, eligible participants may be invited to attend a follow-up CT scan on board the mobile unit.

“There are lots of safety measures on board to reduce any risk of Covid-19 and the dedicated team are available to answer any questions you may have either before or after your appointment.

“Lung health check scan results are analysed by a specialist clinical ‘hub’ within the hospital and participants receive their results in approximately two weeks. If further follow up is needed, participants are referred by the service to their GP or hospital.”

Dr Stuart Baugh, Clinical Director at Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance, said: “People diagnosed with lung cancer at the earliest stage are nearly 20 times more likely to survive for five years than those whose cancer is caught late.

“The rollout of the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check Programme is a huge step towards achieving our NHS Long Term Plan ambition of catching more cancers at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat.

“The service has already received fantastic feedback from people who have taken part and we look forward to helping even more people as the service continues to move around the city. If you or a member of your family receive a lung health check invitation, don’t ignore it – book your appointment without delay.”

Find out more about lung health checks in Hull at www.lunghealthcheck.org.uk.

Allyson is wearing a red coat and yellow bobble hat. It is a selfie photo which also includes a man standing in the background, smiling at the camera. They are both in an open field which has a mountain and water in the background.

Raising Awareness of Cancer: Allyson’s Story

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Living with and Beyond Cancer | No Comments
The image shows Allyson with short hair and earrings. She is looking at the camera smiling. In the background their are company logos displayed on a white background.

Allyson lives in the East Riding of Yorkshire and began her career in the NHS at the age of 17. After retiring in 2018, Allyson noted that she had ‘never really been ill’ until she was diagnosed with breast cancer after attending a breast screening appointment in 2019.

Here you can read what happened after her diagnosis and how she is now helping to support others living with and beyond cancer:

“My breast cancer was identified during a breast screening appointment. Following my diagnosis, I underwent surgery and 15 sessions of radiotherapy.

“After finishing up treatment for breast cancer, I wanted to do something to raise money for Breast Cancer Now, so I applied to do The Moonwalk in London (walk 26.2 miles at night!).”

In December 2019, Allyson was training for the Moonwalk event and walking two miles a day but despite regular exercise, Allyson had started to notice that she was putting on weight around her stomach and in March 2020, she also started experiencing stomach pains.

“I spoke to my GP and one of my prescribed drugs, which prevented osteoporosis (a potential side effect of breast cancer) had recently changed from a branded product to the generic drug, so we thought this may be the cause. Since it was the start of the pandemic, seeing a GP for a stomach ache didn’t feel appropriate, but it only got worse over the next few weeks and by May 2020, I looked five months pregnant. I decided to contact my GP again and this time I was booked in for a face-to-face appointment.”

Allyson’s GP submitted a referral for an urgent scan however, two days later her symptoms had become worse so she returned to the GP and was admitted to hospital for a CT scan. Whilst in hospital, Allyson had six litres of fluid drained and five days later she was told that she had ovarian cancer.

“I was very weak and frightened. Following an MRI scan, it was decided I would have four sessions of chemotherapy and in September 2020 I underwent surgery.

“When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know the symptoms of ovarian cancer but I’d encourage women to familiarise themselves with B.E.A.T.

“As women, we tend to accept stomach pains and bloating but it’s important to understand what’s normal and speak to your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms that don’t seem right.”

Coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis

“Receiving the ovarian cancer diagnosis was devastating for me and my family. It felt like being woken up in the middle of the night and thrown into the ocean without a life raft. I was so frightened and all I could think about was my death. I felt so alone.

“My husband became my carer and made sure I was eating and drinking properly. After a few months, I started to feel stronger physically and mentally and wanted to take back some control. I began looking at my diet and exercise, as well as investigating ways to manage my mental health.

“Women with ovarian cancer are three times more likely to develop mental health problems and I knew I was struggling. Thankfully, I found Ovacome, an ovarian cancer charity that supported me in my time of need.

“Through Ovacome, I met other women with a diagnosis who have since become dear friends that I couldn’t have managed without. I was a strong, independent woman when I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, but it made me feel vulnerable, yet determined to do something to help myself and other women with a diagnosis.”

“I knew I needed to get fit for surgery and to help with the recovery after, so when I saw a challenge to run 60 miles for Cancer Research UK, I decided to try and walk it instead. I started to walk again, albeit slowly on some days following the chemotherapy. I was very weak, but feeling the weather on my face made me feel so much better.

“In the month prior to my surgery, I walked 70 miles. It wasn’t easy but I was determined to be as fit as I could be. In the month after surgery, I’m proud to say I walked 26 miles and have continued to walk every day since, whatever the weather.

“Walking has been my salvation. As I came to the end of my chemotherapy treatment, I set a goal of walking 1000 miles in 2021.

“When I realised I was walking a marathon a week, my goal changed to 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Sometimes I’d walk with my husband, other days alone, in silence, listening to the sound of each step like a sort of meditation.

Allyson is wearing a red coat and yellow bobble hat. It is a selfie photo which also includes a man standing in the background, smiling at the camera. They are both in an open field which has a mountain and water in the background.

“There were other times where I struggled, too, usually because of the ‘scan anxiety’ common among women like me. Slowly, I learned to face my fears. One day I loudly sang Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive while sobbing, which helped with my ‘I can do this!’ attitude. Luckily, we live in the countryside, so nobody saw me!

Walking together

“During one of my walks, at a time when I was receiving lots of messages of support from others, I came up with the idea of creating a virtual walking group for women with ovarian cancer. I got in touch with Ovacome, who had helped me previously, and we created the Walk With Me group.

Walk With Me is a friendly and supportive group that helps people with Ovarian to achieve their individual walking goals. The group connects virtually on WhatsApp to share friendship, encouragement, stories, and photos of the wonderful things they see on their walks. We also have a Strava club where people can share their routes and congratulate each other.

Allyson is stood in the snow with her arms out wide. She is holding walking sticks and dressed for cold weather.

“Walk With Me isn’t about the distance; it’s about supporting each other through ovarian cancer and sharing our experiences. With the support of the women in the group, I achieved my goal and walked 55.3 marathons in 52 weeks. That even included a few weeks with plantar fasciitis, but nothing was going to stop me!

“I now only do things that bring me joy every day and walking has become that for me, I face my fears as they arise, but know whilst cancer has changed me, it does not define me, but has been a real opportunity for change in my life for which I am grateful.”

Andrew Markham and a friend raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. They are standing outside a Tesco and holding fundraising buckets. Andrew, who stands on the left, is wearing a purple wig.

Raising Awareness of Prostate Cancer: Andrew’s story

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Living with and Beyond Cancer | No Comments

Andrew Markham, a Warehouse Operative from Brigg, was diagnosed with prostate cancer when he was 63. After receiving treatment in November, Andrew is now sharing his experience to encourage other men to become more aware of their risk, which can result in an earlier diagnosis.

Andrew Markham and a friend fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK. They are standing outside at a table with various merchandise.

Andrew (right) is passionate about fundraising for prostate and pancreatic cancer charities.

“In my late 50s, I had a problem with my tummy. I decided to speak to my GP about it, who asked me if I’d ever been tested for prostate cancer. Thinking back, I hadn’t, and so I went along for a PSA test*. After a slightly nervous wait, the results came back at just over four, which is a little high, but not necessarily a huge concern.

“Because my PSA was slightly high, I went back for a PSA test every six months after that. It always fluctuated between 3.9 and 4.2 and therefore seemed okay. This was until one test, when I was 63 in December 2020, which showed, despite a lack of any other symptoms, my PSA had gone up to 4.6, so the consultant suggested I have an MRI. I wasn’t too concerned, as my urologist assured me it was a precaution and my PSA still wasn’t very high.”

*A PSA test is a blood test to measure the amount of a prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. PSA is a protein produced by normal cells in the prostate and by prostate cancer cells. It’s normal to have a small amount of PSA in the blood, and this even rises as men age because the prostate increases in size. A high PSA level can be an indicator of cancer or another problem with the prostate. Regular PSA testing can help GPs spot a problem early, even if there are no other symptoms.

“In May 2021, I received an MRI scan at Scunthorpe General Hospital. When attending my results appointment with a urologist, they said they’d found a lesion on my prostate and that it was best to investigate it further.

“I was then booked in for a biopsy, again at Scunthorpe General Hospital. My appointment took the full morning and I had 15-20 samples taken, but my wife Jenny and I were given plenty of cuppas – the nursing staff were brilliant. Two weeks passed and the results came – I had cancer. On the day of my results, my workplace has asked me to take part in a fundraiser for Men’s Health Week as they knew I fundraise for pancreatic cancer charities. It was ironic to receive the results I did.

“Later, another biopsy appointment confirmed a large tumour, bigger than I and they expected, and I was given a full diagnosis at the end of September 2021. My tumour was stage one with a Gleason score of 7.

“There are several options for treatment when it comes to prostate cancer, and I was given a choice between radiotherapy, hormone treatment, or surgery. After speaking with Jenny and some friends at a Brigg fundraising group, I decided to have surgery to remove the tumour.

Andrew Markham and a friend raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. They are standing outside a Tesco and holding fundraising buckets. Andrew, who stands on the left, is wearing a purple wig.

Andrew (left) and a friend fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK.

“On 28th November, I had a robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) and have been recovering since then. I’m still tired, in pain, and have been off work for six months now, but I’m happy to have found my prostate cancer and had the procedure. In two weeks, I’ll be going for another CT scan to see if there are any other problems underlying.

“Although prostate cancer isn’t nice, knowing your risk and contacting your GP if concerned can help you get an earlier diagnosis. Men who are black or who are aged over 50, like I was when I was diagnosed, are most at risk. Knowing your risk is important, as it can help you and your GP decide whether you should be monitored or undergo tests, such as a PSA test, for prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer doesn’t always have symptoms, but Prostate Cancer UK’s risk checker can help you determine your risk in 30 seconds. I’d encourage all men to use the risk checker and contact their GP if they have a higher risk.”

Image includes the text: Every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK. Image also includes Bowel Cancer UK charity logo

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis | No Comments

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, a fantastic annual opportunity to raise awareness of the fourth most common cancer in the UK.

Image includes the text: Every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK. Image also includes Bowel Cancer UK charity logo

Bowel cancer is also the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, however it shouldn’t be because it’s treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.

Nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage but this drops significantly as the disease develops. Early diagnosis really does save lives.

That’s why we’re supporting Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and Bowel Cancer UK, the UK’s leading bowel cancer charity, to raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have one or more of these, or if things just don’t feel right, see your GP.

For more information about bowel cancer and details of how to get involved in Bowel Cancer Awareness Month visit www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk

To learn more about the early signs and symptoms of bowel and other common cancers, you can sign up to a free Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Champion training session.

National Clinical Nurse Specialist Awareness Day

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, National Campaigns | No Comments

Tuesday 15th March is National Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist awareness day. We are supporting the #NationalCancerCNSday campaign to help shine a spotlight on the role which is often referred to as a lifeline for patients and their families. Here you can meet some of the CNS’s that are helping to care for people affected by cancer across Humber, Coast and Vale.

Photo of Louise who is looking at the camera and smiling. Her hair is tied back and she is wearing a blue nurses uniform.

Louise Salt

Louise Salt

Colorectal/Stoma Clinical Nurse Specialist,
Diana Princess of Wales Hospital

How long have you been in the NHS?

I have worked for the NHS for 41 years.

Why did you want to join the NHS?

I love and am very interested in people. Everyone has a story and different life experiences that makes them who they are. It is a pleasure and privilege to help/assist them and their families when they need medical help. I believe access to a great health service and care should be available to everyone regardless of means, that is why I choose to work for the NHS rather than the private sector.

What does your role involve?

At present I help with the five year follow up of patients who had bowel cancer. I also see patients and their families at cancer diagnosis, surgery and throughout the journey of having had or living with bowel cancer. Also I do some work with patients who have had or having a stoma.

What is the best part of your job?

It is always having contact with patients and their families, I am also fortunate to work as part of the colorectal team who I believe are brilliant and share the same ideals as me of giving the best care we can and aiming for the best outcome and experience for the patient and their families facing a difficult time.

What does caring for people affected by cancer mean to you?

The word cancer still naturally conjures up imminent or impending death for most people. Part of my role is helping people to adjust to having a cancer diagnosis and explaining how we can, in a lot of situations, attempt to rid them of it completely. My role involves supporting people to continue living their lives and finding normality in everyday life. The family and friends around them give the majority of support, but we are also there to help when needed.

 

Photo of Vicky sat beside a desk. She is wearing a blue nurses uniform, glasses and a face mask. Her hair is tied back and she is looking at the camera.

Vicky Dixon

Vicky Dixon
Haematology Advanced CNS at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is helping people cope through and with very difficult situations. Helping and caring for people with cancer gives you a constant sense of perspective and a strong belief and strength in the power of kindness and compassion.

 

Lynne Buckley

Lynn Buckley

Macmillan Gynae-Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist and Advance Nurse Practitioner,
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

How long have you been in the NHS?

I have worked in the NHS for 37 years.

Why did you want to join the NHS?

It’s hard to remember that long ago, but my mum was a nurse and I followed in her footsteps.

What does your role involve?

I support women and their families through cancer diagnosis, treatments and beyond. Every day is different, most days involve breaking bad news, managing expectations, ensuring that women have the information they need to be able to make decisions about their care and that their holistic needs are met.  I work closely with a much wider team of health care professionals across multidisciplinary and multiservice boundaries.  I also contribute to developing services and guidelines.

What is the best part of your job?

Knowing that you have done your best for that person in front of you and they feel valued and that their needs have been met.

What does caring for people affected by cancer mean to you?

I feel privileged to be part of the cancer pathway and hope that my input has made things a little easier for people affected by cancer.

Photo of Claire Wise. Claire has blonde hair and is looking at the camera, smiling

Claire Wise

Claire Wise
Gynaecology Clinical Nurse Specialist at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

What is the best part of your job?
“The best part of my job is being the constant for someone and building supportive relationships.”

Image of a man playing with a jack in a box toy. The images also says 'don't let the thought of cancer play on your mind'.

NHS Chief Launches New Campaign To Combat The Fear Of Cancer

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis | No Comments

A new campaign taking a radically different approach to detecting cancer early for patients, when it is easier to treat, has been announced today by NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard.

Running across TV, radio, and social media from tomorrow, the campaign is the first to focus on tackling the fear of cancer rather than specific symptoms.

A woman sitting at a bus stop about to open a jack in a box. It says 'don't let cancer play on your mind'.The key message is that if you think something is wrong it is always better to get checked out to put your mind at rest, or to get treatment that maximises your chances of a good outcome.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to increasing the number of cancers detected at an early stage one or two from half to three quarters by 2028.

NHS staff have been checking record numbers of people for cancer. Latest figures show that the number of people getting checked for cancer increased by over half a million (512,110) in one year between December 2020 and December 2021.

Speaking ahead of the launch, NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said that people should continue to come forward for these vital checks, adding that it was important for people to try to set their mind at ease if they have worrying symptoms by getting checked without delay.

It comes alongside new research showing that nearly six in 10 people (56%) say a cancer diagnosis is their biggest health fear, above other illnesses including heart disease and Covid-19.

Almost two thirds (63%) of those surveyed said dying was their biggest cancer fear, with more than one in three (37%) worried about being a burden on family and friends and over another third (36%) worried about the impact of chemotherapy or other treatments.

While the majority of people knew catching cancer earlier makes it more treatable, over two fifths (42%) said they would ignore symptoms, wait to see if anything changed, look for answers online or speak to family and friends before seeing their GP.

Launching officially on Wednesday, a new advert will show a man who is worried about his symptoms carrying a jack-in-the-box around with him, which he winds up as he goes about his day. When he eventually gets checked and discovers he doesn’t have cancer, a consultant opens the jack-in-the-box to show it is empty.

NHS bosses and cancer charities are urging people not to delay “lifesaving” checks, highlighting nine in ten of those checked turn out not to have cancer but that it is better to know so that people can get treated early when chances of survival are highest.

NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “We know that the prospect of a cancer diagnosis can be daunting for people and that is exactly why we are launching this potentially lifesaving campaign  – we want to allay people’s fear about cancer and encourage them to get checked without delay.

“We know that many people don’t want to burden or bother anyone with their health concerns, but we would always prefer to see you sooner with a cancer that is easier to treat, than later with one that isn’t.

“NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to ensure cancer was prioritised throughout the pandemic with over half a million people starting treatment over the last two years and record numbers of people now being referred for checks and tests.

“So, the NHS is here for you – don’t let cancer play on your mind – get checked without delay.”

NHS cancer director, Dame Cally Palmer, said: “Despite cancer remaining a priority during the pandemic, with referrals at record levels for more than 10 months and more than half a million people starting treatment in the last two years, we have seen fewer people than expected come forward for lifesaving checks which is why were are launching this campaign – the first of its kind – that looks to tackle people’s worries head on and support earlier diagnosis.”

“The fear of cancer is completely understandable but please don’t let worries and concerns about treatment or potentially bad news prevent you from coming forward – and help us to help you.”

NHS clinical director for cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, said: “A key part of this new campaign is encouraging people to be aware of any changes in their body, and not to hold back from getting them checked.

“Most people who come forward and get tested for cancer find out they don’t have it, but whatever the result, the NHS wants you to know that we are here for you and finding out sooner is always better.

“It might be nothing at all, it might be something else the NHS can help you with, but if it is cancer then finding it early makes it much more treatable, and it could save your life.”

Phil Kissi, 64 from London who has recovered from prostate cancer, said: “In 2006, I was watching a TV programme that said Black men were at higher risk of prostate cancer. Although I didn’t have any symptoms, I had a feeling that something wasn’t right.

“My diagnosis changed my perspective on life, and I re-evaluated what was important to me. After my surgery, I decided to go into athletic training and help young people who might not have had the chance to fulfil their potential otherwise.

“If you’re worried about cancer, contact your GP practice. It’s probably nothing serious but even if it is, getting your diagnosis earlier can give you more treatment options and ultimately, a better chance of success.”

Dr Ian Walker, director of policy, information, and communication, at Cancer Research UK, said: “Sometimes a little bit of concern or fear about our health can prompt us into action, but it’s vital that this fear doesn’t get to a level that stops us picking up the phone or walking into the surgery.

“We’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve noticed changes to their health but weren’t sure what to do, or needed help with the next steps. We encourage anyone in this situation to get in touch with their GP practice. They have nothing to lose but could have everything to gain because finding cancer at an early stage can make all the difference.”

Dr Anthony Cunliffe, Clinical Adviser for Primary Care at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “People might put off seeing their doctor if they’re worried that their symptoms could be cancer – the specially trained nurses and advisors on Macmillan’s support line often hear about the toll a potential cancer diagnosis is taking on their mental health. But, for most people, there’s another explanation for their symptoms.

“However, we know that early diagnosis of cancer can improve prognoses and save lives, and anyone worried about potential cancer symptoms should contact their GP as soon as possible. Don’t think it’s not important or put it off. Your GP will make time to listen to your concerns.”

Jane Lyons, CEO of Cancer52, which works with charities supporting people with rare and less common cancers (you can find a list of these on www.cancer52.org.uk), said:

“Worrying about having cancer is completely understandable and getting checked out a scary experience, so it is good to know that nine out of ten people who do come forward don’t have cancer.

“But if you are one of the people who does have a cancer, especially a rare or less common cancer where symptoms might not be so obvious or well known to people or health professionals, then it is usually better to get an earlier diagnosis where there can be more treatment options and better outcomes.

“And with rare and less common cancers, which account for more than half of cancer deaths in England, it can take more persistence and more visits to GPs to get an accurate diagnosis so it’s even more important to get in touch if you think something is wrong.”

Cancers are much more likely to be treated successfully if caught at an early stage.

More than nine in 10 bowel cancer patients will survive the disease for more than five years if diagnosed at the earliest stage. Similarly, 92.8% of women diagnosed with the earliest stage ovarian cancer survive the disease for at least five years compared to around 13.3% for women diagnosed with the most advanced stage of the disease.

Not all the symptoms of cancer are easy to spot. The NHS is encouraging people to contact their GP practice if they experience any of the below symptoms:

  • Tummy trouble, such as discomfort or diarrhoea for three weeks or more, or
  • Blood in your pee – even just once;
  • Unexpected or unexplained bleeding;
  • Unexplained pain that lasts three weeks or more;
  • An unexplained lump; or
  • A cough for three weeks or more (that isn’t COVID-19).

Other signs and symptoms to prompt contact to your GP practice if experienced for three weeks or more include:

  • Unexplained weight loss;
  • Feeling tired and unwell and not sure why
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Unusual, pale or greasy poo

Find the missing men prostate cancer awareness

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, National Campaigns | No Comments

Why we’re backing Prostate Cancer UK & NHS England’s new campaign

Prostate cancer is more common than you think. It’s the most common cancer in men. 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer. That could be a dad, uncle, brother, partner or best friend. It’s why Prostate Cancer UK and the NHS have joined forces to launch a campaign to find the 14,000 men who have not started treatment for prostate cancer since the beginning of the pandemic.

Early diagnosis saves lives

New figures show that prostate cancer accounts for a third of those not treated for cancer compared to before the pandemic. Prostate cancer is very treatable if caught early. It’s important for men to know their risk because early prostate cancer often has no symptoms.

Joe Appiah, from Bromley, was diagnosed with prostate cancer during the pandemic. He didn’t have symptoms. “I’d seen adverts about prostate cancer, but I didn’t know how badly black men were affected, or how to get a test. I didn’t have symptoms and wasn’t aware of any family history. So until my friend told me to speak to my GP, I didn’t think about it – especially with Covid too. My friend saved my life. Thanks to him it was caught just in time.”

Check your risk and share the risk checker with loved ones

It takes 30 seconds to complete and could save lives. Access the risk checker here.

Access the campaign communications toolkit here.

X
Skip to content