Over 2,020 Cancer Champions are helping to raise awareness of the symptoms of cancer and encourage early detection of cancer across Scarborough, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, Vale of York and North and North East Lincolnshire.
Detecting cancer early can increase chances of survival and the HCV Cancer Alliance’s Cancer Champion Programme aims to teach people about the early signs of cancer, and equip them with the information needed to engage in conversations about cancer.
Cancer Champions are able to use the knowledge gained from a free 90 minute session, to encourage their friends, family and colleagues to contact their GP if they are worried about a symptom of cancer, promote uptake of national cancer screening programmes and encourage healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of cancer.
Cancer awareness sessions have been delivered in local schools, businesses, community venues, and more recently online. In August 2020, HCV Cancer Alliance introduced virtual sessions after face-to-face training was paused as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Emma Lewin, Volunteer Co-ordinator for the programme, explains: “We started delivering face-to-face awareness sessions in September 2018 and had set a goal of reaching 2,020 Cancer Champions in 2020. However, during the first wave of the pandemic all sessions were paused until further notice and we had to adapt in order to continue the programme and keep sharing the important messages about knowing your body and what is and isn’t normal for you.
“By introducing virtual sessions, we were pleased to be able to continue increasing the number of people in the HCV area equipped to have those potentially life-saving conversations within local communities.”
The programme has received positive feedback from participants, with one Cancer Champion saying: “This really opened my eyes and made me realise how important it is to educate yourself, your loved ones, friends and the public on cancer and possibly catch it earlier to save someone’s life.” Another recently trained Cancer Champion said: “Given how common cancer is, it made me really think about how little I talk about it with family and friends.”
To sign up for a free 90 minute cancer awareness session or to find out more, visit https://hnycanceralliance.org.uk/cancerchampions/