Preventing and diagnosing cancer earlier

The Long Term Plan for cancer sets an ambition to reduce or eliminate preventable cancers before they appear and make sure that from 2018, three in four cancers will be diagnosed at an early stage. Diagnosing cancer early, at stages 1 and 2, is one of the biggest actions the NHS can take to improve cancer survival.

We will do this by finding more cancers before symptoms appear, increasing public awareness of risk factors and the early signs and symptoms of cancer, and increasing take up of screening programmes.

Our work includes supporting the implementation of national initiatives at a local level by working with our local health care providers and public health teams.

Bowel cancer screening programme

In June 2019, the NHS introduced a new bowel cancer screening test across England, to detect more bowel cancers, earlier. The main benefits of the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) are that it is easier to use and it is more accurate than the previous test.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) screening

From September 2019, the national HPV screening programme will be extended to boys in school year 8, taking an important step forward in our efforts to prevent cancer.

Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance also has its own initiatives underway to help prevent and diagnose cancer earlier.

Increasing screening uptake

We have used transformation funding to develop local, targeted interventions in 2019/20 to improve uptake of cancer screening in areas where there is currently low uptake. The interventions will be rolled out in North West Surrey, East Surrey, Crawley, Horsham and East Sussex and evaluated. The learning will be shared across the whole of Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance to inform future targeted interventions over the next four years.

We are also working in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) to deliver an increase in uptake in screening across the whole region. PHE and Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance lead a joint screening forum where intelligence is gathered and shared and joint plans are put in place.

For more information, or to get involved, please contact Louisa Daly, Senior Programme Manager for Screening and Early Diagnosis.