Category

Cancer Champions

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.

The Cancer Champion Programme reaches 3,000 milestone: Blog from Dr Dan Cottingham

By | Cancer Champions | No Comments

The Cancer Champion programme has reached a new milestone this week and there are now more than 3,000 ‘Cancer Champions’ helping to increase knowledge and support earlier diagnosis of cancer.

Dr Dan CottinghamCRUK GP Lead for Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance

In a blog for Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, Dr Dan Cottingham, CRUK GP Lead for the Cancer Alliance reflects on the impact and achievements of the Cancer Champion Programme.

The Programme reached an important milestone in January 2022, and there are now 3,000 people in Humber, Coast and Vale helping to raise awareness of the early signs and symptoms of cancer.

To read the blog, please click here.

Jo, a research fellow at Hull York Medical School.

Local Cancer Champions share their stories to celebrate 3,000 milestone

By | Cancer Champions | No Comments

More than 3,000 people in Humber, Coast and Vale have now completed Cancer Champion training – helping to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and encourage early detection in our local communities.

The Cancer Champion programme launched in Humber, Coast and Vale in September 2018 and is an integral part of the Cancer Alliance’s awareness and early diagnosis programme. In 2020, sessions began being delivered virtually in order to continue training people safely throughout the pandemic.

Here, some of the people who have completed the training share their stories.

Amanda Eastwood, a member of staff at Hull City Council, who took the training in September 2021.Amanda

Cancer Champion Amanda decided to attend the training because she’d been affected by cancer in her personal life. Now, in her role at Hull City Council, she’s encouraging colleagues to take part. Click here to read her story.

 

DavidImage of police uniform, saying 'Police Staff' on the back.

David, a Crisis Negotiator for Humberside Police, has used his training to give help, support, and advice to people who find themselves in a difficult situation. Click here to read his story.

Jo, a research fellow at Hull York Medical School.Jo

Attending an awareness session in December 2019 ignited a passion in Jo for supporting earlier diagnoses and even influenced her research fellowship. Click here to read her story.

SarahSarah, who has long brown wavy hair, wears a white t shirt and smiles at the camera while holding a latte coffee.

Sarah signed up for an awareness session to meet fellow cancer patients, talk about cancer, and gain a deeper understanding of other cancers different to her own. Click here to read her story.

Click here to find out more about the Cancer Champion Programme or sign up for an upcoming awareness session.

Number of Cancer Champions in Humber, Coast and Vale passes 3,000 milestone

By | Cancer Champions | No Comments

More than 3,000 people in Humber, Coast and Vale have now completed Cancer Champion training – helping to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and encourage early detection in our local communities.

Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance launched the Cancer Champion training sessions in September 2018; and trained its 3,000th Cancer Champion this week during an online training session to members of the public.

Image of a roller banner which features a human silhouette that has white arrows pointing to different parts of the body and text that describes different cancer symptoms such as 'a mouth or tongue ulcer that lasts longer than 3 three weeks.

Free Cancer Champion training teaches how to spot the early signs of cancer

The training, which is free of charge and only takes 90 minutes to complete, equips people with the knowledge to talk more openly about cancer with their friends and family to encourage early detection of cancer, when treatment could be simpler and more successful.

Dr Dan Cottingham, CRUK GP Lead for Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance, said: “Thank you to every individual who has taken the time to complete the Alliance’s Cancer Champion training. Three thousand Cancer Champions in Humber, Coast and Vale is something to be proud of but we hope to train many more Cancer Champions in our region to help achieve the NHS Long Term Plan ambition of diagnosing three out of four people with cancer at an early stage by 2028.

“With research showing that 4 in 10 cancers are preventable, the training highlights the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and helps people to engage in conversations about cancer. Talking openly about cancer can support others to reduce their risk of cancer, take up national cancer screening invitations or contact their GP about any worrying symptoms.”

Virtual and face-to-face Cancer Champion training sessions are available to members of the public and the Cancer Alliance also offers bespoke sessions to business, voluntary and educational organisations. Anyone can take part in the training; you do not need any specific skills or qualifications or any previous knowledge of cancer.

AVIVA, North Yorkshire Council, East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group, and HEY Smile Foundation are just some local employers which have organised private Cancer Champion training sessions for their staff.

Hull City Council employee Amanda Eastwood became a Cancer Champion in September 2020 and has used the skills she learned during the training to help others.

Cancer Champion training at HEY Smile

She said: “Since becoming a Cancer Champion, I’ve been lucky enough to help others. A colleague of mine had mentioned their periods weren’t right and said they felt constantly tired. I encouraged them to speak to their GP and they are now receiving treatment after cancerous cells were found.

“Having witnessed the benefits of this training, I’m now working with my employer to ensure every sector at Hull City Council has at least one Cancer Champion who can support others affected by cancer.”

Dr Jo Cairns

Dr Jo Cairns, a research fellow at Hull York Medical School, has also put her Cancer Champion training into practice. She said:

“After someone told me they were nervous about attending their first cervical screening appointment, I was able to reassure them and reinforced the importance of attending. I believe it is small moments like that which could help to make a big difference to someone’s outcome.”

Humberside Police crisis negotiator Dave Dosdale also found the training extremely useful.

“I’d recommend everyone taking part to help understand the impact of cancer on our friends, our colleagues, and our family members,” he said. “It’s important to learn how to support someone’s cancer journey.”

Cancer Champion Claire Davis Eaton, who attended a session delivered by Care Plus Group, added: “Cancer Champions aren’t medically trained, and we don’t use medical jargon, but the training can still help you to promote awareness of cancer. We’re normal people who just want to help others either get an earlier diagnosis or have their worries alleviated sooner.”

To sign up for a Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Champion training session, visit: www.hcvcanceralliance.org.uk/cancerchampions

Front of a Boots pharmacy where Nicola, a Cancer Champion, works.

Cancer Champions: Nicola’s story

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

In her job as a Community Pharmacist, Nicola spends her day supporting and building relationships with local people. Three months into her role, Nicola noticed something different about one of her regular customers and used her experience to help.

Just three months into her new job at a Boots Pharmacy in Hull, Nicola knew many of her regular customers well. She noticed that one gentleman, who was known to pick up his medication order like clockwork, had not been in for a while. He was a particularly sociable man who liked a laugh and a giggle with the staff, always had a smile for everyone, and was totally committed to caring for his disabled wife.

Front of a Boots pharmacy where Nicola, a Cancer Champion, works.

Nicola was just three months into her job at Boots when she noticed something off about the man.

He was always keen to chat, especially about his family and their mini-breaks away. His absence was unusual, but what was more unusual was his behaviour when he came in the following month. Nicola knew he must have been unwell, and this was confirmed when finally returned to the pharmacy to collect his usual prescription as well as some antibiotics.

Nicola straightaway noticed a change in his demeanour. He was less talkative and chose to sit and wait on the chairs away from the counter, rather than stand and chat with her as was usual. She also noticed he had lost a significant amount of weight, was coughing almost constantly, and his skin was yellow.

After Nicola asked if the man was okay, he responded that he thought he may have a chest infection. Nicola felt there was more to this and invited the gentleman into their meeting room for a chat. With further conversation, he admitted to Nicola that he was experiencing a significant change with his bowel movements and had noticed blood in his stools. While the man was talking, Nicola looked at his skin and the whites of eyes – they appeared ‘banana’ yellow. He told her he had a blood test booked for a weeks’ time, but Nicola was seriously concerned.

She reported the situation to her manager who agreed that a further conversation was needed with the GP surgery, which was attached to the pharmacy. Nicola spoke with the lead receptionist and explained some of the man’s symptoms. As a result, the gentleman was invited for a blood test there and then. Later the same day, he was called back into the surgery as the GP said something serious had been picked up on his blood test. Along with his notes, he was sent straight to the local hospital to see a specialist who confirmed that he had metastatic cancer which was treatable, but not curable.

The following morning, the gentleman and his wife brought in a huge bunch of flowers to thank Nicola for her care and support. Receiving the diagnosis of cancer may not have been able to save his life, but it meant a great deal to the couple that it would lead to treatment that could manage his symptoms and extend the time he would have with his family. It also gave them chance to make alternative arrangements for his wife’s care.

Nicola believes she was ready to ask the right questions and take the necessary steps because, at that time, her father was being treated for lung cancer and her brother for Hodgkin lymphoma. Her lived experience and the relationships she had built with her regular customers meant she was aware of certain signs and had the confidence to take the necessary steps to help someone. She’s now asking other pharmacy staff to take the Cancer Champion Training to equip them with the same tools.

“I was able to use my own experiences with cancer to help a patient. Since then, I’ve taken part in the Cancer Champion training, and I think it’s a great way to give pharmacy staff everywhere the same knowledge, understanding, and skills required to support their customers in the same way.”

Nicola, Cancer Champion

After his diagnosis, the gentleman was given an estimated three months to live. He died 18 months later. While Nicola still feels the emotions of that time deeply, she is proud of her actions and the opportunity to positively support another family affected by cancer.

Cancer Champion Awareness Sessions are available to schools and colleges, businesses, community groups, and the public. The team hold virtual or face to face sessions, as well as bespoke sessions that focus on a particular cancer or topic.

To get involved, email [email protected] or visit www.hcvcanceralliance.org.uk/CancerChampions

Image shows two people and text that says Spot the Difference? Lung Cancer doesn't discriminate. Nor do we. We're here to spot the difference. Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

Spot the Difference and take action

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Champions

Early symptoms of lung cancer can be subtle and easy to ignore. A bit of breathlessness is put down to being a bit out of shape. Lack of energy can be caused by anything from poor diet to low mood. And a persistent cough? Well, we all know what springs to mind when we hear a cough nowadays.

A new awareness campaign from Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation aims to help people ‘spot the difference’ in their health, identifying symptoms which are unusual for them and encourage and reassure them to take action.

Spot the Difference highlights many of different lung cancer symptoms including a persistent cough, breathlessness, weight loss and fatigue and how they can masquerade in every day activities. It also features a variety of patients who spotted differences in their health, were diagnosed early and went on to have curative intent treatment.

To find out more about the campaign and potential symptoms, visit roycastle.org/ spotthedifference

Image shows two people and text that says Spot the Difference? Lung Cancer doesn't discriminate. Nor do we. We're here to spot the difference. Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
An image of Katy Connolly. She has long brown hair and is smiling at the camera.

Finding HPV during a cervical screening: Katy’s story

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

After a routine cervical screening test, Katy received a letter saying she had abnormal cells. As a Cancer Champion, Katy is now sharing her experience to help tackle the fears some women and people with a cervix may be experiencing about cervical screening.

An image of Katy Connolly. She has long brown hair and is smiling at the camera.

After a routine cervical screening, Katy received a letter saying she had abnormal cells and HPV.

“Following a routine cervical screening test, I was shocked to receive a feedback letter saying I had abnormal cells and HPV virus. It seemed very sinister and I was worried; how had I got HPV?!

I was then asked to go to Hull Royal for a colposcopy, which made me feel very nervous, as I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I arrived, however, the whole team made me feel at ease as soon as I walked in.

Before the colposcopy examination, I spoke with a consultant who explained more about the HPV virus… that it was very normal, and that I had most likely had it for years. By keeping a close eye on the cells and removing tiny amounts of them if required, it can ultimately stop the development of cancerous cells. There was no suggestion to say that I would develop cancerous cells if the HPV was left untreated – but it was a great way to prevent it from happening.

An illustration of a woman attending a colposcopy appointment. She is on a hospital bed with legs in supports while a health professional assess her cervix through a colposcope which connects to a screen showing the cervix.

By keeping a close eye on the cells and removing tiny amounts of them if required, a colposcopy can ultimately stop the development of cancerous cells. [Image from Jo’s Trust]

The colposcopy was just like a cervical screening test, conducted by a specialist who viewed the cervix and took a tiny biopsy of the cells (which didn’t hurt at all) which were then sent off for analysis. I received a letter a few weeks later to say the abnormal cells had been examined and were not cancerous, so I would continue to have yearly smears to keep an eye on things.

The following year, when I returned for a smear test, I was referred for another colposcopy. This time, the consultant advised that they would remove some of the cells there and then – which was good because I didn’t have time to overthink it! Again, it was painless – just a little uncomfortable for a matter of seconds. The procedure was very quick. After using a local anaesthetic on the cervix (which also didn’t hurt) he used a device with a heated thin wire loop, which quickly removed a tiny amount of the abnormal cells.

Before I knew it, I was sat in a comfy chair, drinking a cup of tea, and eating a biscuit! I didn’t experience any pain when the anaesthetic wore off. I just had to avoid exercise for 3-4 weeks (other than walking).

I’ve just had another smear, and the HPV virus is still present, but there are no abnormal cells, so I’m being referred for a colposcopy again.

I’m very grateful for the cervical screening system – it is empowering to know that by attending the routine smear tests and colposcopies, I’m doing everything I can to monitor my health, which benefits both me and my family.”

What is cervical screening?

Cervical screening (previously known as a smear test) is a test to check the health of your cervix, which is the opening to your womb from your vagina. It’s not a test for cancer; it’s a test to help prevent cancer.

In England, all women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited to regular appointments by letter. During each appointment, a small sample of cells will be taken from your cervix to check for human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause changes to the cells of your cervix.

To find out more about the cervical screening programme and how attending your appointment can help prevent cancer, visit www.jostrust.org.uk

Sharon, who was diagnosed with breast cancer after learning about the symptoms during a Cancer Champion Awareness Session. She has cheekbone length light brown hair and wears black square glasses. She is looking to the right and slightly smiling.

‘Learning about cancer saved my life’: Sharon’s story

By | Cancer Champions | No Comments

‘If I hadn’t done the Cancer Champion training, where would I be? Learning about cancer saved my life.’

Sharon Hornsby, a Contact Officer with Humberside Police, received treatment for early stage breast cancer after a free awareness session prompted her to book an appointment with her GP.

In March 2019, Sharon took part in a 90 minute Cancer Champion awareness session at her work place. The session, hosted by Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance, taught the early signs of cancer, promoted national screening programmes and encouraged early detection of cancer. During the training, Sharon identified with one of the symptoms shown on a Know Your Lemons poster and decided to contact her GP.

She said: “Each lemon on the poster represented a symptom of breast cancer we should keep an eye out for, such as a dimple, skin sores, or a new shape or size. Upon looking, I realised my right nipple was on that poster!”

The Know Your Lemons poster, which uses lemons to demonstrate some of the symptoms of breast cancer. This includes changes to skin thickness, a lump, a sunken nipple, and more.

Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer after recognising her symptoms on a Know Your Lemons poster.

“I quickly got in touch with my GP as my nipple had been inverted for approximately three months and because I was 48 at the time, I wasn’t eligible for the national breast screening programme. My GP was brilliant and, within 14 days, I was sent to Castle Hill Hospital for a mammogram. A few weeks later I received the news that I had stage two breast cancer.”

Sharon went on to receive treatment for cancer at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and in July 2020, was given the all-clear from cancer. Sharon is now encouraging others to take part in free Cancer Champion training and to take note of what is normal for them.

She said: “Learning about cancer saved my life. If I’d not attended that Cancer Champion training session, I would have carried on oblivious to anything going on inside my body. Also, because my tumours were deep within the breasts, I would have never felt them from routine checking at home.

“I would encourage everyone to attend the Cancer Champion training. Not just for personal reasons, but to be there for your colleagues, friends and family too. If I hadn’t seen the Know Your Lemons poster, if I hadn’t done the Cancer Champion training, where would I be?”

Image of Dr Dan Cottingham who is the GP Lead for Cancer at Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance. The image shows Dan standing in front of a brick wall, wearing a shirt and tie. He is wearing glasses and is smiling.

Dr Dan Cottingham, CRUK Primary Care Lead

Dr Dan Cottingham, CRUK Primary Care Lead for Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance said: “The Alliance is really pleased to have supported Sharon’s journey to early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. By teaching people about the early signs of cancer, the Cancer Champion programme aims to encourage people to talk about cancer and promote early detection.

“It’s important to be aware of the early signs of cancer and to know what’s normal for you, so that you can spot any symptoms that are unusual, persistent and/or unexplained. If you are worried about a symptom that might be cancer, please contact your GP without delay. As Sharon’s experience highlights, cancer is most treatable when it is diagnosed early.”

People living in the Humber, Coast and Vale region, including Hull, East Yorkshire, Scarborough, York, Grimsby and Scunthorpe can become a Cancer Champion by taking part in a free 90 minute virtual session. To find out more and sign up, visit www.hcvcanceralliance.org.uk/cancerchampions

Image of the breast cancer screening unit at Castle Hill Hospital. The unit white and decorated with the NHS logo and 'Humberside Breast Screening Unit' title

Local Cancer Champion encourages others to ‘go and get checked’ after attending a breast screening appointment

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

“Go and get checked. The staff know it is a frightening time, but be assured they are equipped to deal with your fears and help you every step of the way.”

After recently attending a breast screening appointment at Castle Hill Hospital in Hull, Jennie Salisbury, a 54 year old wife, mother, nanna, and Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Champion is now urging others to do the same after hearing concerns that the fear of Covid-19 may be deterring people from attending.

Jennie said: I received a letter inviting me to a breast screening appointment back in January. Initially I was a little hesitant about going because I have been anxious to venture out during lockdown, but then I remembered the promise I made to my sister, who died from breast cancer, that I would never miss an appointment.

The national breast screening programme invites women between the ages of 50 and 70 to have their breasts screened every three years. At the start of the pandemic, the programme was temporarily paused across Humber, Coast and Vale however, the service has now resumed and safety measures have been put in place to protect both staff and patients.

Jennie said: “I noticed a lot of safety measures in place at the breast screening unit. Hand sanitisers were available and there was a lot of distance between the chairs. When called through for my appointment, the Technician was busy sanitising the equipment and during every part of the procedure she sanitised her hands. The whole appointment took 15 mins and within half an hour I was back home.”

Photo of Jennie. Jennie has blonde hair and wears glasses. She looking at the camera and smiling. Jennie is wearing a black jumper.

Jennie was pleased to receive all clear results within a week of her appointment and is now advising other women to attend, when invited. Jennie said: “My advice is to go and get checked. The staff know it is frightening times but be assured they are equipped to deal with your fears and talk to you every step of the way. Having previously attended Cancer Champion training, I know how important it is to attend cancer screening appointments and I hope that by sharing my experience, other women will feel assured about attending screening during COVID-19.”

In this video, Hull CCG GP Dr Amy Oehring explains why attending a breast screening is so important:

To learn more about the early signs and symptoms of cancer, sign up for a free 90 minute Cancer Champion awareness session or click here to find out more.

Up close photo of Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance Cancer Champion badges. The badge is a white circle with a blue border, and they say 'Cancer Champion' in the middle.

Clare’s story: Being open about cancer

By | Cancer Champions | No Comments

I heard about the Cancer Champion training while attending another course with Macmillan and decided to take part to help raise more awareness of cancer. If you or someone you know is experiencing cancer symptoms, it’s important to deal with it as early as possible, and one of the keys to this is knowledge.

I enjoyed attending a session where everyone shared an interest in raising awareness of cancer and helping people who are affected. The session itself was interesting and well-presented and, while the trainers were friendly, they were also informative.

Since attending, I’ve spoken to a few people about the training and the importance of attending. I’ve also promoted the training on my blog, handed out leaflets about cancer, and shared awareness-raising posts on social media.

If cancer is caught early, treatment can be more successful. That’s why the training is important – it encourages people to have their symptoms checked which, in turn, promotes early diagnosis. Worrying symptoms don’t always mean it is cancer, but getting it checked can alleviate stress.

Cancer was a forbidden word once, but we’ve got to be more open, otherwise, things are brushed under the carpet, and you can’t do that with cancer. Lots of families are affected by cancer, but being open about it can make it less scary.

ClareCancer Champion

Cancer Champions aren’t medically trained, and we don’t use medical jargon, but the training can still help you to promote awareness of cancer. We’re normal people who just want to help others either get an earlier diagnosis or have their worries alleviated sooner.

To find out more about the Cancer Champion Programme or sign up for an upcoming session, please click here.

X
Skip to content