We are pleased that the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England have announced the oesophago-gastric ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign will go to a national basis from 26 January to end February 2015.
The national oesophago-gastric cancer campaign will run from 26 January to the end of February. The campaign is aimed at men and women aged 50 years and over and focuses on key symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers.
The campaign plans are still to be finalised but are likely to include TV, radio, press, digital and out of home advertising. There may also be road show events.
The key message will be: ‘Having heartburn, most days for 3 weeks or more, could be a sign of cancer – tell your doctor’. A second message will be: ‘Food sticking when you swallow could be a sign of cancer – tell your doctor’.
The decision to run this campaign was based on the results from the regional campaign which ran in the Northern England Strategic Clinical Network region from February to March 2014. The results provided evidence of a significant impact, showing that, within the regional pilot area, there was a 52% increase in urgent GP referrals for suspected upper GI cancers, for February–April 2014, compared to the same months in 2013. This compares to an increase of 17% in the control area.
It is acknowledged that this campaign will impact on endoscopy services. By providing early warning we hope that you can put in place any necessary temporary arrangements to cope with any peak in requirements. Also, to help cope with additional pressures:
- We will provide information about the learning from the regional pilot with examples of how they managed the extra pressure, particularly around their pathways from primary to secondary care.
- The briefing sheets for primary care will make clear that it is for GPs to use their clinical judgement whether or not the symptoms of a patient require onward referral to secondary care.
- The campaign will run for only four weeks, rather than the normal six weeks.