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Cancer Alliance News – Summer 2021

By | Cancer Alliance | No Comments

The Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance Summer 2021 newsletter is now available.

The summer edition features details of activity taking place across the Alliance’s programmes of work to support high standards of care across Humber, Coast and Vale. This includes developments to the
Cancer Champion programme, changes to the skin cancer pathway, volunteer groups supporting people affected by cancer and much more.

Click here to read the newsletter.

An image of the van used for lung health checks in Hull. It's a large white trailer with a blue swirl design, and it features the Siemens and Healthineers logos.

Targeted Lung Health Checks are back and they have never been more important

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Alliance
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, Programme Director
Lung Health Checks in Hull

Lung Health Checks in Hull are back following a temporary pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of all those involved, we have been able to resume the Targeted Lung Health Check programme and introduce COVID-19 measures to ensure staff and patient safety.

The programme, which aims to diagnose lung cancer early, started its phased return in April and will play a key role in improving outcomes for people at high risk of developing lung cancer or other respiratory diseases.

It has been an incredibly difficult time for cancer services recently and our challenge of diagnosing lung cancer early, when treatment can be simpler and more successful, has only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

At the peak of the pandemic, the number of cancer referrals dropped by 60% and although they have recovered well in general, lung cancer has been one of the slowest to recover.

A national ‘Help Us Help You’ campaign which ran between February and May has helped to encourage people with a persistent cough to contact their GP, but there can often be no symptoms during the earliest stage of lung cancer, so it is important to also identify and diagnose those at highest risk of developing the disease.

The Targeted Lung Health Check Programme invites people who are between the ages of 55 to less than 75, are current or previous smokers, live in Hull and are registered with a Hull GP, to take part in a free NHS Lung Health Check.

Eligible participants take part in a telephone assessment with a specially trained nurse and those reaching the risk score threshold are then invited to attend a low dose CT scan on board a mobile unit, which is currently situated at Castle Hill Hospital. You can find out more about Lung Health Check appointments in the video below:

Thee image shows a man stood in a kitchen coughing into a tissue. The text reads A cough that lasts three weeks or more could be a warning sign, just contact your GP practice if you've had a cough for three weeks or more and it isn't covid. Don't ignore it. It's probably nothing serious but it could be a sign of cancer. The graphic is used as part of a Help Us Help You Campaign

We have seen the potential impact of this programme from its initial launch in January 2020. The service ran for five weeks and during that time it welcomed over 900 participants, helped to identify a number of cancers at an early stage and referred over 100 people to local stop smoking services.

As we continue to accelerate Lung Health Checks in Hull, I am incredibly optimistic that we can make a difference to lung cancer outcomes and address some of the health inequalities that exist across our region.

There is a great enthusiasm for this programme both nationally and across the Humber, Coast and Vale area, and as we collaboratively work to roll out NHS Lung Health Checks further, I am looking forward to ensuring more people can benefit from a programme that is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan ambitions for cancer.

Dr Stuart Baugh
Programme Director
Targeted Lung Health Checks in Hull

Free ‘Cancer Demystified’ Webinars for Secondary Care Professionals

By | Cancer Alliance | No Comments

Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance is pleased to offer free Cancer Demystified webinar training for staff working in cancer services at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

Cancer Demystified training aims to provide both clinical and non-clinical colleagues with a wider understanding of cancer and the associated terminology. The sessions, which can be accessed online and last around 60 minutes, help build confidence to have potentially difficult conversations about cancer with those affected by it. Each webinar covers a different topic, from the staging and grading of cancer and how chemotherapy works, to in-depth descriptions of different cancer types and more. A link to the full list of modules can be found here.

The free sessions are available to Trust staff working in cancer services until 31st March 2022.

For more information and to sign up, email admin.hcvcanceralliance@nhs.net.

Over 2,020 Cancer Champions are helping to encourage early detection of cancer in Humber, Coast and Vale region

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Alliance

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://hcvcanceralliance.org.uk/cancerchampions/

Meet the Team: Cancer Champions

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Alliance, Cancer Champions

Over the last two years, Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance have helped to raise awareness of cancer by delivering free Cancer Champion awareness sessions to over 2,000 people across the Humber, Coast and Vale region.

Here you can find out more about the trainers behind the programme, as Emma, Zoe and Sarah share information about the programme, their roles and what it means to be a Cancer Champion.

Photo of Emma Lewin, volunteer co-ordinator is stood in front of a brick wall holdig a photo prop of the Cancer Champions logo. Emma is looking at the camera and smiling. She has blonde shoulder length hair, a fringe and glasses. She is wearing a pink top and grey trousers.

Emma Lewin
Volunteer Co-ordinator

Tell us a little bit about yourself
I have worked for the NHS for 8 years in administrative roles after working in the private sector in a variety of industries. I received a Business Administration degree last year (quite a few years after leaving school at the age of 16).

I have a 10 year old daughter and was very proud when she was telling me about the nurse coming to her school to talk about “body changes” and they mentioned about breast checking and how important this is. She told them, “I already know about this, as mummy talks about doing this in her job”.

What is the best part of your job?
I have loved getting out and about to deliver the Cancer Champion sessions around Humber, Coast and Vale area over the last 2 years and have met hundreds of people, helped make them aware about the early signs and symptoms of cancer and heard their stories.

During the first lockdown, we were able to develop our Cancer Champion workshops so that we could continue to deliver them albeit virtually, so that we can continue sharing the important messages about cancer and screening.

What does delivering Cancer Champion awareness sessions mean to you?
I was diagnosed in 2002 with a benign brain tumour and received stereotactic radiotherapy which shrank it in size and meant that no further treatment was required. I also have friends and family who have been diagnosed with cancer and this is something that inspires me to want to help more people to be aware of those early signs and symptoms of cancer and help them to seek assistance early.

If you share one piece of advice about cancer, what would it be?
Know your body – what is “normal” for you and be aware if anything changes; a lump that appears, a cough that doesn’t clear or sudden weight loss/gain without trying and that if something changes to seek medical assistance.

Sarah Patten
Project Officer

Tell us a little bit about yourself
I joined the Cancer Champion programme in 2019 after my best friend was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She was only 36, had two young children and was recently separated from her husband. I’ll never forget her words “I have breast cancer, I’m scared I’m going to die”. Thankfully the cancer hadn’t spread and I supported her through her cancer treatment, seeing first hand, the impact her diagnosis had, on both her and her family. It was at the same time I learnt that 1 in 8 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

As a Cancer Champion trainer, I love being able to inspire people to feel confident talking about cancer and to promote the importance of the NHS cancer screening programmes, all of which aim to detect cancer at an early stage.

Photo of Sarah Patten stood in front of a brick wall. Sarah has short dark hair and is looking at the camera smiling. She is holding a photo prop which is of an enlarged Cancer Champion logo.

What is the best part of your job?
Receiving the ‘Cancer Champion Pledges’ after each session.   It’s fantastic when you read what impact the session has had and reading how Cancer Champions plan to use their ‘new’ knowledge about cancer, signs and symptoms and to share our vital cancer messages. A great example, “I pledge to encourage my children to get into good habits of self-checking themselves on a regular basis and to continue to do so. I also now have the information and knowledge to talk confidently and sign post people I come into contact with regarding getting checked out when necessary.”

What does delivering Cancer Champion awareness sessions mean to you?
I feel extremely privileged to be able to support people to recognise the early signs and symptoms of cancer, and truly believe that our programme of awareness makes a huge difference, enabling people to detect cancer as early as possible. It’s fantastic to be able to embrace the new ‘virtual’ world of delivering Cancer Champion awareness sessions, allowing us to reach many more people over a large geographical area.

If you share one piece of advice about cancer, what would it be?
Try to surround yourself with a network of people who remind you regularly how fantastic you’re doing, who encourage you to share how you’re feeling, remind you to celebrate the good days and accept there will be bad days. #itsokaytonotbeokay

Photo of Zoe Bounds standing in front of a brick wall. Zoe is holding a photo prop of the Cancer Champion logo. Zoe is smiling and has shoulder length, dark, hair.

Zoe Bounds
Project Officer

Tell us a little bit about yourself
First and foremost I’m a Mum to 4 amazing children. I’m an ex special needs teacher and twice cancer survivor having had Ovarian cancer in 1995 at the age of 17 and Breast cancer in 2013 at 35. I originate from the Midlands and brought my children up in Cornwall. Whilst I miss the Cornish beaches, I’m very much at home here in York, especially having found a couple of stunning beaches on the Yorkshire coast.  I run a local breast cancer support charity in my spare time and my weekends are spent walking my dog Riley, watching my son play football or cooking with my daughter. I can bake far too well and I crochet not well enough.

What is the best part of your job?
Making a lasting, often life-long impact on people’s lives. The messages we deliver can be passed out far and wide as well as down the generations and have the potential to save many lives. Recently, I had a message from someone had heard me speak about cancer awareness. She wrote “A few months ago I found a lump. Thanks to you I knew how to check. It turned out it was ‘just’ a cyst but if it hadn’t been for you I might not have known to check myself regularly. I just wanted to say thank you and keep doing what you do”. This is all the evidence I need to continue to have a passion for spreading cancer awareness.

What does delivering Cancer Champion awareness sessions mean to you?
It’s personal. I often joke that I’m so fed up of cancer forcing its way into my life that I have taken this job to gain some control over which area of my life it is involved with… but seriously, I do want to combine my cancer experiences with my teaching skills to try and limit the amount of people who have similar experiences to mine as both my cancers were found at stage 3, so my treatments have been gruelling and left me with lifelong side effects, as well as seriously impacting on my family and friends around me.

If you share one piece of advice about cancer, what would it be?
Cancer isn’t going away any time soon, so let’s protect ourselves with the information we need to spot cancers at the earliest possible stage, so that they can be treated less invasively and have the most successful outcomes. I’m sure we’d all agree that cancer isn’t the most cheery of subjects, but knowing that 1 in 2 people in the UK will develop cancer in their life time and that more than 50% of people diagnosed with cancer survive it, clearly shows that cancer isn’t necessarily a death sentence anymore.

The Cancer Champion team do our best to make the session light and add some humour and we know it’s well received. One of our recently trained Cancer Champions told us “In those short 90 minutes I leant so much about cancer and also really enjoyed myself – something I didn’t expect with such a serious topic!”

Become a Cancer Champion

It’s easier than you think to make a difference. Take part in free a 90 minute cancer awareness session and learn how to spot the early signs and symptoms of cancer.

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