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UK relaunches lung cancer campaign

Follows success in previous awareness push


The UK government has relaunched a national lung cancer awareness push, after a 14 per cent increase in detection rates resulted from the previous campaign.

Be Clear On Cancer was designed and executed by Public Health England (PHE), in partnership with the Department of Health (DH) and the NHS Commissioning Board. The campaign, which focused on improving public awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer, ran as a regional pilot in 2011 and was then rolled out nationally in 2012.

The campaign encourages people to see their GP if they have experienced any of the symptoms and will again feature as adverts on TV, billboard, buses, local newspapers and radio from today until mid August. There will also be face-to-face events taking place in a number of shopping centres across the country.

National clinical director for cancer at NHS England, Sean Duffy, said: “Awareness campaigns like this are especially important in getting people with potential symptoms into doctors' surgeries. During the regional pilot, trusts within the campaign areas saw a 14 per cent increase in lung cancer cases diagnosed compared with a year earlier, whereas there was only a 4.7 per cent increase in trusts outside the pilot area.

“However, more needs to be done for our survival rates to be as good as the best in Europe. If they were, it is estimated that around 1,300 deaths could be avoided each year.”

The PHE's decision to launch a 'reminder' campaign was based on results released in March this year that showed statistically significant increases in unprompted awareness of cough/hoarseness (41 to 50 per cent) and persistent/prolonged cough (12 to 15 per cent) among the target audience.

It also found that there was an increase of approximately 30 per cent in two week wait referrals for suspected lung cancer in the campaign months, compared with the same period in the previous year, with the bulk of additional referrals in the over 50s. The increase was greatest in July (45.8 per cent), the month after the campaign ended.

The results published by PHE contradict the DH's earlier warnings that the £9m national campaign would not show a significant increase in cancer detection rates.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: “These figures show that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the signs of lung cancer and ultimately save more lives.

“The results from the previous campaign are really encouraging but awareness levels of a persistent cough as a symptom of lung cancer are still low.”

2nd July 2013

From: Marketing, Healthcare



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