Last Monday, Gina Squires and Sharon Deveson Kell were delighted to be invited to attend a networking event organised by the South Reading Cancer Support Network.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Kajal Patel, the Cancer GP Lead for Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Dr Patel had identified that the South Reading region was continually coming bottom of the league tables with respect to uptake of cancer screening, early diagnosis and survival. Cultural diversity in the region contributed to poor awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer, and a reluctance to seek help from local doctors.

For the last year, South Reading locality has been working alongside Macmillan and Rushmoor Healthy Living on a project to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer within the different communities. Forty community volunteers have been identified to take part in five sessions of training to become ‘Cancer Champions’; this is to promote education and awareness within their communities.

The group held a networking event on Monday 30th April 2018 to establish links with the Cancer Champions and to introduce them to local support groups and cancer charities. This is so they can take these contacts to the community groups, patients directly, or residents that need help, who may not have known that these groups exist. The charities and support groups will then be able to develop new links with patients that need support; for example, the Cancer Champion can act as a link for patients with a different culture/ethnic group or language. 

This was a fantastic opportunity for KCSN to not only raise awareness of kidney cancer, but to promote the work of the charity to the Cancer Champions and to build a working relationship with them going forward.

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