NHS hits the road with cancer “bus-ting” tour

The NHS is hitting the road to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and to encourage people to visit their GP for potentially lifesaving checks if they have a symptom.  

Following on from World Cancer Day on 4 February, an NHS double-decker bus will be touring the country for five days from today (Monday 6 February), including a day in Leicester on Thursday 9 February.   

On board there will be teams of NHS staff, alongside nurses from Cancer Research UK to give expert advice and to raise awareness of common cancer signs and symptoms, the importance of earlier diagnosis, and where they can go for support and advice. You can visit the bus on Humberstone Gate in Leicester from 10am-1pm and at the Peepul Centre in Leicester from 1:30pm-4pm on Thursday. 

World Cancer Day is a great reminder of the importance of visiting your GP if something doesn’t feel right and you are worried about cancer. It’s probably nothing serious but even if it is, getting your diagnosis earlier can give you more treatment options and ultimately, a better chance of success.  

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out its commitment to improve uptake of cancer screening and early cancer diagnosis. The cancer “bus-ting” tour is one of a number of initiatives helping the NHS realise its ambitions: 

  • NHS Galleri trial: Over the last two years, more than 18,500 people from across the East Midlands have volunteered to take part in the world’s largest trial of a blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer, as part of the NHS’s drive to catch the disease when it is generally easiest to treat. The trial is ongoing; initial results from the Galleri study are expected later this year. If successful, NHS England plans to extend the rollout to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025. 
  • Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT): Last year, home-testing kits that can help detect early-stage bowel cancer were rolled out to 58-year-olds in the East Midlands for the first time, as part of a major expansion of the lifesaving screening programme.  The NHS Long Term Plan committed to lowering the age of those eligible for home-testing kits to everyone aged 50 and above by 2025.   
  • New breast cancer screening units: Last month, the Government pledged an additional £10 million to speed up breast cancer diagnosis and treatment by providing 29 new NHS breast cancer screening units across England and nearly 70 life-saving upgrades to services in areas where they are most needed. New units in the East Midlands will be at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester; Lincoln County Hospital; Nottingham City Hospital; and Kettering General Hospital. Upgraded screening services are planned for Chesterfield Royal Hospital; Kettering General Hospital; Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust; and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. 
  • Targeted lung health checks: The targeted lung health check programme (TLHC) offers lung health checks to participants aged 55 to 74 who are current or former smokers. The programme aims to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer, at a stage when it is much more treatable. The programme is currently established in 23 places with some of the highest rates of mortality from lung cancer and it is estimated that around 6,000 cancers will be diagnosed earlier than would otherwise have been. Sites in the East Midlands are at Mansfield, Corby and Nottingham. 

Sarah Hughes, Managing Director of the Midlands Cancer Alliances, said: “We are making great strides in the diagnosis and treatment of different cancers in the East Midlands and beyond. 

“This World Cancer Day, it’s important that people know not to carry the worry of cancer with them; if something in your body doesn’t feel right, contact your GP practice. We know that cancers are more likely to be treated successfully if caught at an early stage and that’s why it’s so important to spread the word far and wide and encourage people with potential signs of cancer to come forward. The NHS is here and wants to see you. 

“This bus tour is another example of how the NHS is going further in its ambition to diagnose more cancers at an earlier stage than ever before, by engaging directly with people in their own communities as they are going about their daily routines. I hope many members of the public in Leicester will benefit from the bus’s presence on Thursday.”