Patients ignore life-saving help
Too many people are continuing to ignore letters from their GP inviting them to attend routine appointments for breast and cervical cancer screening.
Health bosses at NHS North Lincolnshire say patients often have worries about attending appointments – and some prefer to bury their heads in the sand.
screening: A woman having a mammogram
Now staff at the trust are encouraging people to take up these appointments and break down some of the barriers that stop people attending screenings.
NHS North Lincolnshire has two specialised cancer health trainers.
Sarah Ross and Emma Thompson offer the public practical support to encourage people to take part in the three live-saving screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancer.
Emma said: "I took on the new role in January 2011.
"It is worthwhile to know that a lot of people are not aware of some screening programmes and that we can make a difference to this.
"There are two areas to the work that we do. One is promotional work at events, promoting the screenings that are coming to the area. Our work is linked to the national campaigns to help raise awareness."
Doctors say some of the principal barriers include fear, worry about pain or discomfort and embarrassment.
Other barriers preventing people from attending their screening include nervousness, embarrassment or fear of the word cancer.
Emma said: "We try to give them the confidence that the service is not just looking for cancer but is for health awareness.
"We are trying to promote that early awareness can have a huge impact."
Emma and Sarah are both based at the Ironstone Health Centre in Scunthorpe.
Contact details for the health trainers are available at GP surgeries or call 01652 251000.