‘The small c’ in Camden

We deliver events and outreach for ‘The small c’ cancer awareness campaign in the London Borough of Camden, under the leadership of Community Links. We have also ‘The small c’ in Camden from March 2015 to March 2016.

Cancer is scary. The very thought of it may make us feel profoundly helpless. It’s the Big C. It’s the scary statistics. Only one in ten people diagnosed with late stage bowel cancer will make it alive give years down the line. It’s the fear it may happen to you. Usually, when we talk about cancer, we do not have good news.

It does not have to be that way

Most people actually survive cancer, if diagnosed early enough. For instance, 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer will survive it, and many of them will continue to live full, healthy lives. Going to your GP early enough can save your life- which is why we are here; to empower people like you, in your community, to take charge of their own health.

The NHS in Camden has launched a major public awareness campaign to turn the Big C into a small c; that is, to increase cancer survival in the borough by diagnosing a higher proportion of patients at an early stage, when most people survive the disease. Too many Camden residents continue to be diagnosed at a late stage, when cancer is much more difficult to treat successfully. The campaign is giving people the facts about cancer screening and symptoms, to improve their chances of being diagnosed at an early stage, if they have or develop the disease.

What we do

Our Ambassadors deliver cancer awareness info stalls and street outreach.

We go to places as diverse as libraries, community centers, open markets, community festivals and homeless shelters to talk to people like youyou about what signs and symptoms you should be aware of, when to go talk to your GP and what screening programmes are available to you; so that you can get reassurance, get appropriate care and -if it is the case that you have cancerous cells in your body- catch it and treat it before it turns into the Big C.

Camden residents receive innovative ‘symptom checker’ cards with a checklist of the key symptoms to look out for. If they could tick any one of the boxes, they were asked to show the card to their GP as soon as possible. You can also find the small c ‘symptom checker’ cards here.

Since March 2015, every month, we engaged hundreds of people through our outreach work. Our Ambassadors are well experienced peer learning practitioners trained in delivering health messages; most of us are also health check practitioners with qualifications in nutrition, fitness or other health/lifestyle related subjects. As a result, throughout the project, people were willing to engage in discussions with us, which gave us the opportunity to emphasise a number of times the importance of early diagnosis, taking advantage of available national screenings or making positive lifestyle changes that can potentially lower the risk of cancer and other conditions (ex: quit smoking, eat more fiber and less red meat, etc.).