Sharing our local progress on World Cancer Day: 4th February 2018
4th February 2018 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in Cancer
Cancer continues to be one of the top priorities for clinicians and health commissioners across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR). Over the past year, in partnership with local health and care organisations and patients, a number of changes have been made, with the aim of improving diagnosis rates and outcomes for patients.
Solutions are being developed that will prevent and detect more cancers early and support patients through treatment and into survivorship. Public awareness also continues to be a prime focus, with the aim of seeing more patients coming forward with symptoms at an earlier stage, when treatment is much more likely to be successful.
Improvements and innovations made locally over the past year include:
- More cancer care available closer to patients’ homes, such as the new monitoring service for patients who have received treatment for prostate or thyroid cancer, and who can now have follow-up checks at their local GP practice, instead of having to go to hospital.
- A targeted letter that goes out to all patients when they reach the age of 60, telling them about the bowel cancer screening programme and encouraging them to carry out the test once they have received their test kit. This letter was developed in partnership with local people, who helped to shape ideas for the content and the design of the letter, in a way that would be most effective and meaningful for patients.
- A new letter which is given to patients who have been referred for an urgent hospital appointment because of symptoms that could indicate cancer. The letter explains why the appointment is so important, because finding cancer early and treating it quickly saves lives. Patient groups across the local area were consulted and made suggestions on the content of this letter.
- A series of outreach sessions about cervical screening were held with community groups across Leicester City, so that Leicester City CCG could better understand women’s attitudes to the smear test. Through the outreach work and a wide patient survey, the CCG was able to understand what the barriers are, as well as dispel commonly held myths and misinformation about the smear test. This will help the CCG to encourage more women to take part in routine screening.
There is a lot more work planned to develop cancer services across LLR, through a programme of prevention and early detection, raising the profile of symptoms and improving access to prompt diagnosis.