AN INITIATIVE is underway to help raise awareness about the importance of the early detection of cancer.

This has become more and more important in recent months with the coronavirus crisis diverting the attentions of much of the public and healthcare professionals.

However, the clinical lead for cancer in Rossendale, Dr James Cowdery, is now spearheading a campaign to counter this.

Dr Cowdery said: “Early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for successful treatment.

"There are two major components of early detection of cancer of which are education to promote early diagnosis and screening.”

Screening refers to the use of tests to identifying apparently healthy people who may have an increased risk of a particular condition

Dr Cowdery, a GP at Waterfoot Medical Practice, meanwhile also works in conjunction with the other GP practices in Rossendale in what is known as a Primary Care Network.

These networks are groups of practices that work together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas.

There are two in Rossendale – Rossendale East which covers the Whitworth, Bacup and Waterfoot GP practices, and Rossendale West which covers the Rawtenstall and Haslingden GP practices.

Increasing the early detection of cancer is one of the key responsibilities of the Rossendale Primary Care Network.

Dr Cowdery said: “Recognising the warning signs of cancer and taking prompt action can lead to early diagnosis and treatment.

“Increased awareness of possible warning signs of cancer, among physicians, nurses and other health care providers as well as among the general public, can have a great impact on the disease.

“Some early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent indigestion and chronic hoarseness.

“Early diagnosis is particularly relevant for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum, and skin.”

As part of these efforts, the NHS is offering a range of screening tests to different sections of the population.

The aim is to offer screening to the people who are most likely to benefit from it, for example, some screening tests are only offered to new born babies, while others such as breast screening and bowel cancer screening are only offered to older people.