We often talk about reducing inequalities. What we mean by this is that some people in our communities are less likely to access healthcare for various reasons and our priority here is to reduce this gap and promote healthcare access for all to ensure early diagnosis. 

We know that if cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, it is more likely to be treated successfully. A priority for the Cancer Alliance is to improve the outcomes and experiences for cancer patients by encouraging early diagnosis. 

We work closely with GPs, clinicians, charities such as Macmillan and CRUK, plus patients and the public to identify and employ a range of ways to support early diagnosis. This includes looking at how to reach people who are less likely to access healthcare.

The Nudge the Odds programme applies Behavioural Science Therory into practical solutions and interventions to improve outcomes both in cancer screening attendance and also cancer early diagnosis. Click on the link to find out more and access all the resources and communcations developed.  

New for 2022 is the development of a SYBICS Behavioural Science Academy find out more by clicking on the link or contact tracey.turner5@nhs.net

Here is an overview of the other programmes that support Cancer Early Diagnosis

Be Cancer SAFE

Be Cancer SAFE is a community approach to improving cancer survival in South Yorkshire, and Bassetlaw.

More people in our region are diagnosed with cancer than the England average and we know that catching cancers at an earlier stage greatly increases the chance of survival.

Through a range of community based activities, such as attending coffee mornings, galas, talking to local businesses, we aim to make sure everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, know what screening is available to them and ultimately increase the number of people diagnosed at an earlier stage.

Ordinary members of the community can get involved and be supported to raise awareness with their family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. They will do this by word of mouth, distribution of information and signposting people to the range of services available to them. They will assist in giving information which is beneficial to others and motivate people to be more aware and alert to cancer symptoms.

You can learn all about the programme, the evaluation report and meet some of the workers here.

Be Cancer SAFE is coordinated by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS Cancer Alliance and delivered by the following voluntary sector and health organisations in each area: 

Note: some areas no longer fund the programme but voluntary organistions in those areas continue to spread the Be Cancer SAFE message.

Follow us on social media:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/groups/BeCancerSafe/

Twitter - @SYBhealthcare #becancersafe

QUIT Smoking Cessation

In SYB, the average rates of smoking-attributable deaths in England are much higher than the England average (319.5 per 100,000 compared to an England average of 272.0 per 100,000)

The estimated cost to the public of smoking in SYB is £388 million - if we take account of output lost from early deaths, provision of NHS treatment, provision of social care, smoking breaks, sick days, household fires and passive smoking

Smoking is the single largest cause of ill health and preventable death in England and kills about half of all lifetime users

The QUIT programme is based on four steps:

Q – Ask the question: all hospital patients should be asked if they are a current smoker.

U – Understand their addiction: all hospital patients should be asked to exhale into a CO monitor and their result noted in patient records.  This provides not only evidence of the conversation taking place, but provides a strong indicator of level of addiction which will support and indicate further treatment, but also contributes to triggering quit attempts.

I – Inform patients about smokefree sites: all patients should be informed that the hospital site is smokefree and that patients and visitors are not permitted to smoke anywhere on site, but that they can access support for nicotine replacement.

T – Initiate treatment: refer patients to smoking cessation support including advice and treatment as soon as possible, enabling them to quit during their inpatient stay where possible and ensuring appropriate ongoing support after discharge. Patients should be offered nicotine replacement support within 6 hours of arrival on the ward.

Primary Care Support

The Cancer Alliance are keen to maximise opportunities with Primary Care Networks to take  steps in improving rates of early cancer diagnosis for their registered population. 

The Cancer Alliance contributed to Primary Care education events across the area during 2018 to provide information and gather feedback on new pathways, tests, initiatives focusing on improving early diagnosis of cancer and  highlight the work of the Alliance.

In 2019, we organised a head and neck cancer study morning for all primary care staff on 22 June. You can find out more in our information leaflet.

In partnership with CRUK and the Royal College of General Practitioners, a Primary Care and Cancer Matters workshop for GPs was held on 6 November 2019. 

Further information can be found at:




Screening is a widely used term in the NHS and can take various forms, ranging from national population screening programmes (for breast screening for example) through to screening that occurs as part of routine care (a GP screening for high blood pressure). 

National Adult Cancer Screening programmes include: bowel cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer. Together these programmes save thousands of lives each year through prevention and early diagnosis. 

There are also non cancer adult screening programmes which are Diabetic eye screening and Abdominal aortic aneurysm which the slide set link below provides more programme details https://canceralliancesyb.co.uk/download_file/view/1721/278

The video explains the process of screening. 

The slide set provides details of the national screening programmes and details where you can find further information https://canceralliancesyb.co.uk/download_file/view/1717/278

The Barnsley Cancer Screening guide provides a quick and easy reference guide to the cancer screening programmes in Barnsley.

The Doncaster Cancer Screening guide provides a quick and easy reference guide to the cancer screening programmes in Doncaster.

The Rotherham Cancer Screening guide provides a quick and easy reference guide to the cancer screening programmes in Rotherham.

The Sheffield Cancer Screening guide provides a quick and easy reference guide to the cancer screening programmes in Sheffield.

In addition the linked presentation details the Mental Capacity Act Code of Conduct which may need to be considered https://drive.google.com/file/d/1whBEB-ITj8l2hlytQ8XIMsiQJtvGBeNC/view?usp=sharing

Bowel Cancer Screening

Bowel cancer screening is offered every two years to men and women aged 56 to 74. People older than this can ask for a screening kit every two years.

The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a screening test for colon cancer introduced in June 2019. It tests for hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of cancer. 

The NHS instructional video on how to use the Bowel Cancer Screening Kit is now available to view here.

This video shows you what to expect from a Bowel Cancer Screening.

The slide set provides details of the national bowel cancer screening programme and details where you can find further information https://canceralliancesyb.co.uk/download_file/view/1718/278

Breast Screening

The Breast Screening programme offers screening to all women aged from 50 to their 71st birthday.

This video shows you what to expect from a Breast Cancer Screening.

The slide set provides details of the national breast cancer screening programme and details where you can find further information https://canceralliancesyb.co.uk/download_file/view/1719/278

Cervical Screening

The cervical screening programme is available to anyone with a cervix aged 25 to 64 in England.

All eligible people who are registered with a GP automatically receive an invitation by mail. The first invitation is sent to eligible people at the age of 24.5 years. People aged 25 to 49 receive invitations every three years. People aged 50 to 64 receive invitations every five years.

Trans men (assigned female at birth) do not receive invitations if registered as male with their GP, but are still entitled to screening if they have a cervix.

Cervical screening is a method of preventing cancer by detecting HPV and treating abnormal cell changes in the cervix. Early detection and treatment can prevent 75% of cancers developing.

This video shows you what to expect from a Cervical Screening. 

The slide set provides details of the national cervical screening programme and details where you can find further information https://canceralliancesyb.co.uk/download_file/view/1720/278

PHE has a short introduction to population screening e-learning module. This explains what screening is using animations, videos and quizzes. It is open to everyone and does not require registration.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing

HPV is a common virus transmitted through sexual contact. In most cases, a person’s immune system will clear the infection without the need for treatment.

HPV has over 100 subtypes, most of which do not cause significant disease in humans.

Some subtypes known as high risk HPV (hrHPV) can lead to the development of abnormal cervical cells. These may go on to develop into cervical cancer if left untreated. 

HPV testing has been used in the cervical screening programme this process is called HPV primary screening and was implemented across all areas in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw in 2019.

HPV Primary Screening is a way of examining cervical screening samples, where the sample is only checked for abnormal cells if HPV is found.

Testing for HPV and screening for abnormal cells where HPV is detected will help show more accurately which individuals are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. 

HPV Vaccination information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hpv-vaccination-programme

Rapid Diagnostics

We are scoping the ambition for rapid diagnostics which creates system wide capacity through investment in strategically sited diagnostic facilities. 

Here you can find the Five Year Rapid Diagnostic Service Vision and Phasing of RDS Development Briefing Paper. 

For further information on Rapid Diagnoistics please visit here.

Lung Health Checks

There are often no signs or symptoms of lung cancer at an early stage. As a result, sadly around 7 in 10 cancer patients are currently being diagnosed too late to be cured. Lung Health Checks help find problems early (often before you notice anything is wrong) and at a stage when treatment could be simpler and more successful - ultimately saving more lives. Lung Health Checks will be available to more areas in South Yorkshire from July 2022. People aged from 55 to 74 years, who smoke or used to smoke, and have a registered GP, will be offered a free Lung Health Check. 

For more information on Lung Health Checks click here