£1.3 million funding secured to reduce lives lost to cancer in Cheshire and Merseyside

Three large cancer screening projects taking place across Cheshire and Merseyside will improve the likelihood of cancer survival for thousands of residents by encouraging earlier detection and diagnosis.

A combined total of £1.35 million has been allocated to these projects by the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance through its Cancer Transformation Fund, with planning and implementation facilitated by the Alliance in collaboration with Champs Public Health Collaborative, NHS England/Improvement and Public Health England.

In Cheshire and Merseyside, 18,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year, but due to new forms of treatment, better screening and healthier lifestyles, this number is reducing rapidly. Innovations in healthcare and treatment also means that those who have cancer have a much better chance of surviving if diagnosed early.

The breast and bowel screening project will support residents with several locally based healthcare professionals, who will work in GP surgeries and screening centres to engage with those in the community who would benefit from screening.

The second project, concentrating on cervical screening, will introduce text message reminders for those who are due to attend their screening, and the final project will support community health and care workers with an online toolkit of resources to assist with screening participation.

The NHS Long Term Plan, the national plan to transform healthcare so that it is fit for the future, has outlined ambitious aims for cancer, including an extra 55,000 cancer survivors and 75 per cent of diagnoses taking place at an earlier stage by 2028.

In order to meet these aims, Cancer Alliances across the country have been allocated £115.9 million to support a variety of projects, with the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance receiving nearly £6 million, making it the sixth highest beneficiary.

Sarah Johnson-Griffiths, Consultant in Public Health at Halton Borough Council and Lead Director of Public Health for the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, said:

“The funding for these projects is much needed and very welcome. Being diagnosed at the earliest possible stage of cancer makes such a difference. It means that people can be treated earlier, with a variety of better, often less invasive treatments, which will massively increase chances of survival and ultimately allow people to live a long and healthy life.

“We know that cancer screening can be daunting and sometimes uncomfortable for some people, and it may put them off making a screening appointment. But with these three projects, we can make that decision much easier by keeping people up to date with their appointment, having a friendly face to provide expert advice and support throughout and by ensuring that those working in healthcare are up to date with the latest screening information.”

Dr Chris Warburton, Medical Director for the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, said:

“Securing this national funding wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the hard work and close collaboration of stakeholders across Cheshire and Merseyside. By working together, we have been able to think of new ways to increase the uptake of breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening and have developed a shared plan for improvement that will support the early detection of cancer.

 “The Cancer Alliance plans to make further investments into projects to increase the early detection of cancer. As we look ahead to the next 10 years, I am confident that through collaborative working and targeted transformation funding we will find cancers earlier and ensure more people survive following a diagnosis.”

For the latest updates on the Cheshire and Merseyside cancer screening projects, please visit champspublichealth.com.

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