A MAJOR new campaign to help prevent cancer rolls into town next week.
The mobile information and support hub “iVan,” will be in St Helens on August 25, as part of the “be clear on cancer” campaign.
It follows the launch of the NHS England Merseyside two-year cancer screening plan which has been developed to help raise awareness, increase uptake and to educate people on the importance of taking part in available screening programmes – to detect cancers at the earliest opportunity and give people the best chance of fighting the disease.
iVan staff will be on hand to provide information and advice on a number of cancers, with specific regard to bowel, breast and skin cancers.
They will also be offering free checks which can lead to discovery of symptoms, and providing support for those living with cancer.
Recent figures from Cancer Research UK indicate that locally, while rates of breast cancer (123 per 100,000) are fewer than the English average (125.7 per 100,000), local occurrences of bowel cancer (53.1 per 100,000) are higher than the English average (46.5 per 100,000).
Bowel cancer in particular is a disease associated with unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as eating high levels of red meat, being overweight, a low fibre diet, alcohol and smoking.
Figures from the same source show that more than four out of 10 cases of all cancers in St Helens could be prevented by lifestyle changes such as not smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, cutting back on alcohol, eating a healthy, balanced diet, keeping active and staying safe in the sun.
The council’s Health Trainers will also be operating from the iVan – providing health checks which will help to identify health risk factors and potential obstacles to good health. The health check will include questions about people’s general health, lifestyle and family history; simple measurements such as blood pressure and cholesterol will be taken and people will be given health advice and support based on the results.
For more details about signs and symptoms of cancer visit www.nhs.uk/Cancer