Positive campaign feedback: My view - Dr Nick Tupper

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Previously, I have talked about the good progress we are making in Doncaster towards helping people fight and successfully beat cancer.

Since the formation of Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in April last year we have been focussing on three cancers where we have been performing worse than the average for the rest of the country. They are bowel and prostate for men and lung cancer for both men and women.

Currently, around 68 more Doncaster men die from some form of cancer each year than in most other parts of England. When it comes to lung cancer, Doncaster loses an average 26 more men and 26 more women to the disease than we would expect for a borough our size. And around 11 more Doncaster men die early from colorectal diseases, like bowel cancer.

We’ve taken a number of key actions to improve cancer survivorship in Doncaster, including reviewing the care ‘pathway’ patients take after diagnosis, more training for GPs around symptoms detection, and working with public health colleagues at Doncaster Council to raise the public’s awareness of the signs to look for so they can see their doctor as soon as possible.

Awareness-raising is a key factor as early diagnosis and access to curative treatment is vital in the war against cancer. Men can be poor at acknowledging when they have a health problem, so last year we ran a prostate cancer campaign with Doncaster Rovers to specifically target male fans.

It urged them to see their GP if they had difficulty having a pee, had blood in their pee, or their flow wasn’t how it used to be. We recently evaluated the campaign by surveying fans and the feedback has been really positive.

Some 77 per cent who took part said that prior to the campaign they would not have known the signs to look for and 58 per cent said that even if they had the symptoms they would not have thought to seek medical help. However, 92 per cent said that after seeing the campaign they would now be confident to go and see their GP for a check.

This is fantastic news, showing the good that can come from working closely with community based organisations.

During and after the campaign there was a big increase in the number of men who went to check out suspicious symptoms and as a result Doncaster GPs carried out nearly 40 per cent more PSA tests than in the previous two years.

That equated to an extra 180 a month of the simple blood tests that measure the protein in the prostate gland, with raised levels giving an early warning of possible prostate cancer.

In 2012, 173 men received curative treatment for prostate cancer at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals and in 2013 the number rose to 260.

Early diagnosis means faster access to treatments that can cure.

Don’t ignore the symptoms.

The figures speak for themselves.

Check out: http://menunited.prostatecanceruk.org/