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Answer Cancer: A new year’s resolution that could save your life

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Are you one of those people who have not taken up a cancer-screening appointment? Have you left a bowel cancer-screening test to gather dust on the shelf?  If so, then why not make a new year’s resolution to re-arrange your appointment or use the bowel testing kit, if you have received one, because it could save your life!

Cancer screening figures hit a new low 

According to a 2017 report in the British Journal of Cancer, women with disabilities are less likely than other women to participate in breast and bowel cancer screening, and it seems that rates for the rest of the population are falling too.

In 2019, just 71% of women in England turned up for their cervical cancer screening appointment – the lowest proportion for 21 years – while a similarly low percentage have undergone screenings for breast cancer. (The Guardian, October 2019)

Greater Manchester ranks 12th out of the 14 regions across England for bowel and cervical screening and 13th for breast screening so the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, is funding a three-year programme, called ‘Answer Cancer’ to address this.

The aim is to increase the number of bowel, breast and cervical cancer screenings in Greater Manchester, especially for people who have traditionally not taken up the screening offer, and this includes people with disabilities.

Talk Cancer

The Answer Cancer programme is offering a series of ‘Talk Cancer’ sessions to raise awareness about cancer screening, the importance of early detection and how people can reduce their cancer risk. The first session will be at the end of January at Salford CVS with more sessions to follow in different areas of Greater Manchester throughout the year.

“The idea is that people can attend a session and at the end of it, they can, if they wish, sign up to be a cancer champion,” said Jess Pathak, Answer Cancer’s Programme Manager. “Cancer champions can then go on to encourage friends and family or even their wider community, to consider the benefits of cancer screening when they receive their invite.”

Answer Cancer Grants Fund

Community groups who are interested in recruiting cancer champions in their area will also be able to apply to our grants fund for amounts of either £1,000 or £2,000. The last round of funding awarded 24 applicants a total of £35,000, which in theory, will lead to nearly 900 cancer champions being recruited.

Creating a Social Movement

The Answer Cancer team are hoping people will get involved in passing the message on to others so that screening is seen as a normal thing to do, just like getting your eyes tested. The idea is to build a social movement that improves cancer screening rates and health and wellbeing in communities.

The first Talk Cancer awareness session will be from 10.30 to 12.30 on 24 January 2020 at Salford CVS – go to www.salfordcvs.co.uk to book your FREE place. Or to find out more about the Answer Cancer programme contact Gill Wood on 07902 756220 or email gill.wood@salfordcvs.co.uk

talk cancer seminar

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