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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:

Headshot of Simon Cox, the newly-announced managing director of the Cancer Alliance. He has grey hair, wears glasses and a suit, and smiles at the camera.

Cancer Alliance appoints Simon Cox as manager

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Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Simon Cox as managing director.

Simon will play a crucial role in bringing together all the different organisations that commission and provide cancer services to work collectively to improve cancer outcomes for the people living in Humber, Coast and Vale.

With more than 30 years’ NHS experience, Simon joins the Cancer Alliance from NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group where he has served as the Director of Acute Commissioning since January 2019. Prior to that, he spent several years serving as Chief Officer of NHS Scarborough Clinical Commissioning Group.

Simon is no stranger to the transformation of services across the Humber, Coast and Vale health and care system, in September last year, he was appointed as executive programme director of the East Coast Service Review.

He succeeds Yvonne Elliott, who has served as the Cancer Alliance’s managing director since March 2020. Yvonne has been appointed as director of the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership’s Community Health and Care Provider Collaborative, so will be remaining within the Humber, Coast and Vale health and care system.

Commenting on Simon’s appointment, Phil Mettam, the Cancer Alliance’s Senior Responsible Officer, said: “We are extremely pleased to appoint Simon as managing director of the Cancer Alliance. Given his wide range of experience in the NHS, which spans more than 30 years, I’m sure that Simon will be hugely successful in the role.

“He will play a pivotal role as the Cancer Alliance builds on its work to bring the organisations which provide or commission cancer services in Humber, Coast and Vale closer together to improve services and outcomes for patients.”

Simon Cox said: “I am delighted to be joining the Cancer Alliance. It is a real privilege to take this leadership role across the Humber, Coast and Vale cancer programme, working with our partner colleagues to further develop cancer services in our region to deliver better treatments and care for patients in the future.”

Paying tribute to Yvonne’s contribution to the Cancer Alliance, Phil said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank Yvonne for all her hard work over the last two years, a period during which cancer services and indeed all health and care services have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Yvonne has helped the Alliance navigate multiple competing priorities, her professionalism and diligence has always shone through, and she moves across to the Collaborative with our full support.”

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 or visit

Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2021

By | Involvement Opportunities, Living with and Beyond Cancer

NHS England and Improvement has launched its 2021 national Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES).

The survey asks for feedback from patients, aged 16 and over*, who were treated for cancer as an inpatient or day case, and left hospital in April, May or June 2021, to take part.

Patient feedback is crucial in helping organisations that commission and provide cancer services across Humber, Coast and Vale understand what is working well and identify areas for improvement.

The results from CPES will help to improve local cancer services by enabling Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance to identify local priorities and work with patients and partners to deliver change.

This year the Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) questionnaire has been redesigned, guided by the CPES Advisory Group, to reflect developments in cancer care and treatment, and national policy. The results of the survey will be available in Summer 2022.

For more information on the survey and how to access help and support in completing it, please visit

*A new survey has been launched for those aged 16 and under,

Image shows a NHS staff member operating a CT scanner. There is a patient lying on the scanner. Text on the image reads 'Cancer Patient Experience Survey. Help us to make meaningful change in cancer services.
Image of a large mobile unit which is parked in a car park. A man is walking down some steps away from the unit.

Thousands of people set to benefit as NHS lung health checks confirmed for North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis | No Comments

Past and current smokers in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire will be invited to a NHS lung health check service in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has confirmed that North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire will be two of 43 places across the country to run the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check programme.

Expected to start in 2022, the initiative means approximately 45,000 past and current smokers, aged 55 to less than 75, in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire will be invited to a lung health check by their GP. This will identify an estimated 440 cases of lung cancer earlier than otherwise would have been.

Those invited will have an initial phone assessment with a specially trained health care professional. 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.

Image of a patient receiving a CT scan as part of a lung health check. The radiographer is wearing a face visor, apron and gloves.

The scanner will be housed in a mobile unit and taken to convenient locations, such as supermarket or sport venue car parks, across North and North East Lincolnshire. Stop smoking advice will also be offered to support current smokers wanting to quit.

Image of a large mobile unit which is parked in a car park. A man is walking down some steps away from the unit.

Lung health check mobile units will be placed in convenient locations

Lung cancer can often be caught too late as there are rarely symptoms at the earlier stages. The programme is designed to check those most at risk of developing lung cancer in order to spot signs earlier, at the stage when it’s much more treatable, ultimately saving more lives.

In January 2020, Hull became one of 10 initial lung health check pilot sites and has since welcomed over 5,000 participants to the service, with more than 2,500 of those receiving a CT scan. The service has helped to identify cancer at an early stage and provided opportunities for earlier treatment, which is helping to save people’s lives.

Dr Satpal Shekhawat, Medical Director at NHS North Lincolnshire CCG, said:

“Unfortunately, due to there being few to no symptoms at an early stage, lung cancer is regularly diagnosed late and currently causes more deaths than any other cancer within North and North East Lincolnshire, but if caught early, it’s much more treatable and the survival rate is much higher.

“Being able to offer lung health checks to those at higher risk of lung cancer, will provide an opportunity for more and earlier interventions, including curative surgery. The service will also help to improve our populations health by offering free stop smoking advice and support to current smokers.”

Dr Stuart Baugh, Clinical Director at Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance, said:

“Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance is pleased to have secured funding for the further roll out of Targeted Lung Health Checks across our region.

“The extension of lung health checks will play a key part in helping to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan ambition of diagnosing three out of four people with cancer at an early stage by 2028.

“We have already seen the positive impacts this service has for patients, since the first pilot site was launched in Hull in January 2020, and we look forward to working with our partners to extend the reach of this service from Spring 2022.”

For more information on the Targeted Lung Health Check programme please visit

Image of Dr Stuart Baugh standing in front of a brick wall. Stuart is wearing a suit and is looking at the camera smiling.

Dr Stuart Baugh, Clinical Director for Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance

An older woman holding a book, She is sitting on a sofa, wearing a yellow long-sleeved t shirt while looking into the camera. The image is used to represent a cancer patient who has completed the Cancer Quality of Life Survey.

First set of results released for national Cancer Quality of Life Survey

By | Living with and Beyond Cancer | No Comments

The first set of results for the NHS England and NHS Improvement and NHS Digital Cancer Quality of Life Survey have been released via an online dashboard.

The results show that quality of life for people affected by cancer in Humber, Coast and Vale was higher than for those with a cancer diagnosis living in the rest of England.

A graph showing the difference in overall health between cancer patients and the general population. Cancer patients scored 75.2/100, whereas the general population scored 81.8

Respondents 18 months post-cancer diagnosis rated their quality of life below the general population.

As well as measuring quality of life, the survey asks a series of questions to determine an overall health score. While quality of life was rated highly, overall health for those 18 months post-cancer diagnosis was lower than for the general population. Overall health was also slightly lower for the cancer population in HCV than for those with a cancer diagnosis living in the rest of England.

The survey, which aims to find out how quality of life may have changed for different groups of people diagnosed with cancer, helps to identify where care is working well or not so well, and whether any new services are required.

From 2020, people around 18 months past a breast, prostate, or colorectal (bowel) cancer diagnosis were asked to complete the survey. Those 18 months past any other type of cancer diagnosis began being asked in July 2021.

2,216 patients in Humber, Coast and Vale (HCV) were sent the survey. Of this sample, 1,241 people responded, achieving a 56% response rate from September 2020 to July 2021. The results are based on this time period.

Overall, feedback demonstrated a large amount of variation in cancer quality of life, and this was dependent on factors such as cancer type, age at diagnosis, and location.

Information from the survey, which will be updated on the dashboard approximately every six months, is one of a range of resources that will be used to work out where changes should be made to care, with the goal of improving services and quality of life for people diagnosed with cancer.

For a more in-depth look, the results dashboard for The Cancer Quality of Life Survey can be found at

Headshot of Graham, a Lung Health Check participant. He's wearing a white t shirt and glasses.

Lung Health Checks: Graham’s story

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis

“I first became aware of the Lung Health Check service in March 2020, when me and my wife were invited to attend an appointment at Lidl car park. I wasn’t worried about my health at the time but there was a history of lung cancer in my family, so I thought there’s no harm in getting checked.

“The appointment was booked for the 30th of March, but like a lot of things impacted by Covid-19 I got a phone call to say it would need to be postponed because of lockdown. As soon as the service restarted, we were booked in to speak with someone who asked a few questions about our family and smoking history.

Headshot of Graham, a Lung Health Check participant. He's wearing a white t shirt and glasses.

Graham was surprised at the impact the appointment has had on his life.

“This time we were given an appointment to have a CT scan in Castle Hill Hospital car park. It was easy to attend because a free parking space had been reserved for us and being able to book a similar appointment time as my wife was also a big help. The staff onboard the unit talked us through what to expect and we both had a scan, which was quick and painless. I never thought that appointment would have such a big impact on my life, but a week later I was sat in front of a consultant being told they had found something on my lung. We started to discuss treatment options and I was given the name of a Macmillan nurse who would later be in touch.

“Was I worried? Yes. Did I wish I hadn’t of known? No. I felt incredibly lucky to be receiving help and with the support of my family and friends, I made the decision to have part of my left lung removed. The operation took place in June 2021, and I have since received confirmation that it was cancer.

“The last few months have been a lot to take in and although I’m pleased not to need chemotherapy or radiotherapy, I’m still receiving ongoing care and help with my breathing. I also have weekly calls with the SmokeFree team, who have helped me stop vaping, and the Macmillan nurse has provided fantastic support throughout.

“Although my wife and her two brothers, who also took part in the lung health check service, have had very different experiences to me, I truly believe they are all equally as positive. My wife is now receiving support for slight COPD and her brothers were quickly reassured that their lungs are healthy.

“My friend has recently been invited to take part in a lung health check and I’m now urging him and others to go. He said he’s really sorry for what I’ve been through and is scared about what the service might find, but I’ve told him not to be sorry or scared. That lung health check saved my life.”

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