“Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer”, published on 12 January 2011, committed over £450 million over the four years up to 2014-15 to achieve earlier diagnosis of cancer, including some central funding for Be Clear on Cancer (BCOC) campaigns, which aim to raise awareness of the symptoms of cancer and get symptomatic patients to present earlier.
The BCOC campaigns aim to raise awareness of the symptoms of specific cancers, and to encourage people with symptoms to see their doctor promptly. The decision on which cancers should be the focus of BCOC campaigns is informed by a steering group, whose members include primary and secondary care clinicians, analysts and key voluntary sector organisations. A number of factors are taken into account when deciding which campaigns to develop and run, with one of the main criteria being the number of deaths that could be avoided through earlier diagnosis. The focus for national campaigns so far has therefore been on lung, breast (in women over 70), bowel, kidney and bladder, and oesophago-gastric cancers.
The Department will continue to work with Public Health England, NHS England and other stakeholders to keep these campaigns under review and work with relevant experts to see what might be done to increase awareness of other cancers, such as brain tumours.