A new campaign to get people talking about cancer has been launched across East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen.
The ‘Let’s Talk Cancer’ campaign has been launched by the cancer team at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). It aims to; support people to talk about their thoughts, feelings and experiences of cancer to improve prevention, screening, care and outcomes of cancer and encourage professionals to communicate clearly with patients about cancer.
One in two people in Lancashire will have some form of cancer in their lifetime, and it is the commonest reason for premature death. Cancer is not something we readily talk about, but if we did, it could help to prevent or diagnose cancer sooner.
Dr Neil Smith, Local GP and Cancer Lead across Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire CCGs, said:
“The word cancer can create fear and negative emotions. By talking about it we identify these feelings and it helps to put things into perspective. Through the campaign we are also trying to encourage health professionals to be more open with patients, exploring their concerns and offering clear information.
“Talking and understanding creates action. We are hoping that making cancer part of everyday conversations will support people to attend appointments for cancer screening and tests or hospital reviews for suspected cancer. The earlier cancer is detected, the quicker it can be treated and the longer term survival rates are better. The more we talk about cancer, the sooner we can act.”
Margaret Mills, a Blackburn patient, said:
“I think this campaign will encourage people to talk about their thoughts and experience and dispel some of the fears surrounding the word ‘cancer’.
“I am a cancer patient having had a smear test in 1980 which resulted in me finding out I had cervical cancer, so I had to have operations. Then in 2005, a routine mammogram showed I had breast cancer which again required surgery and other treatment.
“Through attending these screening appointments, I received an early diagnosis and my treatment was successful. I have seen my daughters and grandchildren grow up and I now have a great grandson.
“The more we talk about it the more likely that someone will go and see their GP, have their smear or go for a scan. It’s better to be safe than sorry!”
Dr Neil Smith added:
“By talking about cancer today you will create a ripple effect and you may save a life. You may remind someone to go for a screening or encourage them to address any worrying symptoms. Let’s Talk, Think and Act on cancer.”
If you have any symptoms or concerns, speak to your local GP.