Public awareness campaigns and initiatives

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There are a number of campaigns and initiatives focusing on improving early diagnosis of cancer. Both national and local approaches are important if we are to improve diagnosis of cancer. Cancer Research UK works with health professionals and other stakeholders to ensure that the public is aware of the symptoms of cancer to increase the chances of early diagnosis.

Evidence from the national lung, bowel, and kidney and bladder cancer Be Clear on Cancer campaigns shows that they have been effective in changing public and referral behaviour. Recent evaluation of the Be Clear on Cancer national lung campaign, which ran from May to June 2012, showed that over 700 extra cancers were diagnosed during the campaign.

The cancer strategy in England recommended the continued investment in ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaigns to raise awareness of possible symptoms of cancer and encourage earlier presentation to health services. The Government must commit to protecting the budgets for these campaigns. Funding arrangements must be sustainable and allow for long-term planning within the NHS. There must also be effective evaluation and future development of Be Clear on Cancer campaigns. 

The Detect Cancer Early initiative in Scotland has run campaigns on bowel screening and breast cancer awareness, with further campaigns planned. We would like to see the Detect Cancer Early programme continue in the future with robust evaluation. Scottish Government must therefore commit to protecting the budgets for these campaigns to ensure the work towards diagnosing cancer earlier continues. Funding arrangements must be sustainable and allow for long-term planning within NHS Scotland.

We would like to see the Be Cancer Aware programme continue in the future with robust evaluation. The government in Northern Ireland must therefore commit to protecting the budgets for these campaigns to ensure the work towards diagnosing cancer earlier continues. Funding arrangements must be sustainable and allow for long-term planning within the health service.

NHS Wales ran a lung cancer awareness campaign in Wales, focusing on a persistent three week cough as a symptom of lung cancer. The campaign ran from 11 July to 11 August 2016. We would like to see the government in Wales invest in cancer awareness campaigns to ensure the work towards diagnosing cancer earlier continues. Funding arrangements must be sustainable and allow for long-term planning within the health service.​

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