Current activity and services

Cancer prevention

  • In 2010, around 43% of cancer cases seen in the UK were caused by cell changes brought about by lifestyle and environmental factors.
  • By far the largest modifiable risk factor for cancer is smoking, although excess weight, unhealthy diets and alcohol together with smoking causes about one third of those diagnosed in the UK each year for cancer.  You can see more in a diagram about risk factors that contains the factors for each cancer

National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI)

To improve early diagnosis and awareness, Bedfordshire CCG is aiming to improve patient awareness of cancer symptoms and early diagnosis by primary care.  NAEDI has four main work streams:

  • Achieving early presentation by public and patients to primary care, increasing public awareness of cancer signs and symptoms/seriousness and overcoming barriers to presentation and improving user experience. The Be Clear on Cancer brand was developed by the Department of Health and has been in use since January 2011 to promote awareness and early diagnosis of cancer locally, regionally and nationally by raising awareness of the symptoms of various types of cancer.  The last one was on respiratory symptoms ending in October 2016.  It included TV, press, radio advertising and events Be Clear on Cancer
  • The National Cancer Intelligence Network produces General Practice profiles, which bring together a range of data relevant to cancer in primary care, and allow practices to make comparisons General Practice profiles
  • The ACE programme (Accelerate Coordinate and Evaluate) is looking to build on service and pathway development activity happening in England to improve early diagnosis and, through robust evaluation, inform the commissioning intentions of the future
  • The NAEDI research workstream is funded by a consortium of partners and supports innovative research projects and training for early diagnosis researchers across the UK

A Macmillan GP has been appointed to work across the entire Bedfordshire area.  They acts on the whole cancer journey from supporting early diagnosis of cancer, living with cancer and supporting patients in primary and community care.  They make practice visits, education events and engaging with the CCGs.

Cancer screening programmes

The NHS Breast Screening Programme, NHS Cervical Screening Programme and the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme are nationally coordinated.  All national screening programmes have national standards to be met and are subjected to rigorous external quality assurance processes.  Full details of the evidence base, national standards and annual statistical data are available from the website.  The levels of deprivation and proportions of different ethnic groups may influence screening performance.

The Local Authority Public Health supports national campaigns on cervical (June and January), bowel (April) and breast (October) cancers.  They work with Cancer Research UK, HealthWatch Bedfordshire and a community organisation to promote screening uptake and addressing inequality.

Breast Screening

This programme offers mammographic screening on a 3-yearly basis for women aged 50—70 with older women able to self-refer.  The age extension has started bringing all women aged 47—73 into the programme over a six year period so that by 2017 all women will be offered their first screen between ages 47—50 and eight subsequent screens offered at 3-yearly intervals.  Age extension is being introduced as a randomised process in line with national guidance.  This means at some GP practices, women aged 47—50 will be included whereas in others women aged 70—73.  However by 2017 all women in the wider age range will be invited.

Along with this age extension, breast screening is being transferred to a digital X-ray equipment to improve the quality of the images.

In 2016, breast screening coverage was 78.8%; Central Bedfordshire had results above the national target of 70% for the past year.  If a GP practice deprivation was low, the performance tended to be high.

Cervical screening

This programme offers screening for women aged 25—49 every three years and for women aged 50—64 every five years.

In 2016, cervical screening coverage was 77.2%; this is a lower rate compared with the national target coverage (80%).  Coverage is lower in the 25-49 age-group than that of the 50-64 group.  If GP practice deprivation was low, the performance tended to be high.

Bowel screening

This programme started in 2009 offering screening to those aged 60—69.  The screening is offered on a 2-yearly cycle.  The uptake was counted as the percentage who returned their Faecal Occult Blood test (FOBt) test kits within 12 weeks.  In October 2012 NHS Bedfordshire offered age-extension so that screening was available to those aged 60—74 years.

Bowel scope (flexible sigmoidoscopy) screening is a one-off invitation to all people aged 55 years.  The rollout is being implemented as a phased process; full rollout is expected to be completed by the end of 2016/17.  In Bedfordshire the plan is to introduce a new bowel scope screening list every 3 months, alternating between Luton and Bedford sites.

In 2016, bowel screening uptake was 58.7%.  Performance was above target (52%).  There has been a national drop in uptake as the programme develops and recalls previous participants.  If GP practice deprivation was low, the performance tended to be high.

Last updated Wednesday, 1st November 2017