AN innovative new programme which aims to give cancer patients in south Wales the best chance of surviving the disease has been launched by Cancer Research UK.
Cancer Research UK’s facilitators will support GPs and other healthcare professionals, including dentists and pharmacists, to diagnose cancer earlier when treatment is more effective. They will work across Cardiff and Vale, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Aneurin Bevan health boards.
Each year around 19,100 people are diagnosed with cancer in Wales. Over the last 10 years cancer incidence rates have increased by 10% in Wales.
Deborah Haworth, Cancer Research UK’s facilitator manager for south Wales, said:
“We’re very excited to be introducing the facilitators programme in south Wales.
“This is an excellent opportunity for healthcare professionals and their non-clinical staff to get extra resources and support to help them identify cancer symptoms earlier, which will make a big difference to patients.
“We know that when cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage it allows patients to have more treatment options, and ultimately, a greater chance of survival.
“GPs and other healthcare professionals in south Wales are dedicated to improving the outcome for patients with cancer. We will support them with extra resources and tailored education and training to help them promote cancer screening programmes – ensuring patients are referred as soon as possible for appropriate tests.
“In other parts of the UK, similar programmes have also been successful in improving communication between those working in the community and in hospitals, which is leading to some cases of cancer being diagnosed earlier.”
The South Wales Facilitator Team has already been working closely with the Screening Division of Public Health Wales (PHW) to help shape its workplan and prioritise areas of work.
Dr Sikha De Souza, a Consultant in Public Health at the PHW Screening Division, said:
“Screening Division and Wales Cancer Network are really excited about the launch of the Cancer Research UK Facilitator Programme in south Wales.
“Detecting cancer earlier is a key objective of NHS Wales, and the Cancer Research UK Facilitator programme will support primary care teams with resources and tools to diagnose cancer earlier, which is important as it leads to increased survival.
“We know that taking part in screening can save lives. The Screening Division is working closely with Cancer Research UK to raise awareness of the benefits of screening with health professionals, for them to support people to make informed choices about taking part in screening programmes.”