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More than 3,000 people in Humber, Coast and Vale have now completed Cancer Champion training – helping to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and encourage early detection in our local communities.

Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance launched the Cancer Champion training sessions in September 2018; and trained its 3,000th Cancer Champion this week during an online training session to members of the public.

The training, which is free of charge and only takes 90 minutes to complete, equips people with the knowledge to talk more openly about cancer with their friends and family to encourage early detection of cancer, when treatment could be simpler and more successful.

Dr Dan Cottingham, CRUK GP Lead for Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance, said: “Thank you to every individual who has taken the time to complete the Alliance’s Cancer Champion training. Three thousand Cancer Champions in Humber, Coast and Vale is something to be proud of but we hope to train many more Cancer Champions in our region to help achieve the NHS Long Term Plan ambition of diagnosing three out of four people with cancer at an early stage by 2028.

“With research showing that 4 in 10 cancers are preventable, the training highlights the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and helps people to engage in conversations about cancer. Talking openly about cancer can support others to reduce their risk of cancer, take up national cancer screening invitations or contact their GP about any worrying symptoms.”

Virtual and face-to-face Cancer Champion training sessions are available to members of the public and the Cancer Alliance also offers bespoke sessions to business, voluntary and educational organisations. Anyone can take part in the training; you do not need any specific skills or qualifications or any previous knowledge of cancer.

AVIVA, North Yorkshire Council, East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group, and HEY Smile Foundation are just some local employers which have organised private Cancer Champion training sessions for their staff.

Hull City Council employee Amanda Eastwood became a Cancer Champion in September 2020 and has used the skills she learned during the training to help others.

She said: “Since becoming a Cancer Champion, I’ve been lucky enough to help others. A colleague of mine had mentioned their periods weren’t right and said they felt constantly tired. I encouraged them to speak to their GP and they are now receiving treatment after cancerous cells were found.

“Having witnessed the benefits of this training, I’m now working with my employer to ensure every sector at Hull City Council has at least one Cancer Champion who can support others affected by cancer.”

Dr Jo Cairns, a research fellow at Hull York Medical School, has also put her Cancer Champion training into practice.

She said: “After someone told me they were nervous about attending their first cervical screening appointment, I was able to reassure them and reinforced the importance of attending. I believe it is small moments like that which could help to make a big difference to someone’s outcome.”

Humberside Police crisis negotiator Dave Dosdale also found the training extremely useful.

“I’d recommend everyone taking part to help understand the impact of cancer on our friends, our colleagues, and our family members,” he said. “It’s important to learn how to support someone’s cancer journey.”

Cancer Champion Claire Davis Eaton, who attended a session delivered by Care Plus Group, added: “Cancer Champions aren’t medically trained, and we don’t use medical jargon, but the training can still help you to promote awareness of cancer. We’re normal people who just want to help others either get an earlier diagnosis or have their worries alleviated sooner.”

To sign up for a Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Champion training session, visit: www.hcvcanceralliance.org.uk/cancerchampions

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