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Be clear on the Big C

New campaign to curtail city's biggest cause of death

Published on March 31st 2011.

Be clear on the Big C

LIVERPOOL Primary Care Trust is raising awareness about the signs of bowel, breast and lung cancer in a new campaign which encourages people to report their symptoms sooner.

Cancer claims the lives of around 1,330 Liverpool residents every year, making it the city’s biggest cause of death. Together, bowel, breast and lung cancer account for nearly half of Liverpool cancer deaths.

Earlier diagnosis makes cancer easier to treat and improves survival rates.

Nationally, it is thought that up to 10,000 deaths a year could be prevented if cancers were picked up sooner.

Be Clear on Cancer will use a combination of high-profile advertising and grassroots community activity to highlight the symptoms that people should watch out for. The key message is that you should speak to your doctor if you display one or more tell-tale signs (listed below).

Liverpool GP, Dr Steve Connolly, said: “There are many reasons why people might not report changes in their health to the doctor – sometimes they might not recognise the symptoms as being anything significant, or feel embarrassed talking about them, or think that they’ll be wasting their GP’s time.

“Some people might also assume that if cancer is detected then there’ll be nothing that can be done for them. But we know that diagnosing cancer sooner can save lives. For example, if found at the earliest stage, bowel cancer has a survival rate of more than 90% over five years, yet less than 10% of patients nationally are diagnosed this early.

“Finding cancer sooner makes it more treatable and could save your life. If you experience any of the symptoms highlighted in the campaign then please speak to your GP – we want to see you!”

Be Clear on Cancer has received £100,000 funding from the Department of Health. In developing the campaign, Liverpool PCT used an innovative new approach to understand those people most at risk in the city, which has been recognised as a model of best practice by Cancer Research UK.

Dr Paula Grey, Director of Public Health for Liverpool, said: “Although more people in Liverpool are surviving cancer than ever before, our residents are still 37% more likely to die of cancer than the national average.

“Making sure that people recognise the signs and symptoms – and encouraging them to report anything unusual to their GP – is extremely important.”

Be Clear on Cancer will run until August 2011.

Be Clear on Cancer asks people to look out for the following symptoms.


Bowel Cancer
(for three weeks)
Blood in your poo
Looser poo
Persistent change in bowel habit
Abdominal discomfort
Abdominal lump

Breast Cancer
Lump in your breast
Skin dimpling/puckering
Discharge from your nipple

Lung Cancer
(for three weeks)
Persistent cough
A change in a cough
Unexplained shortness of breath

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