NHS: new cancer tour bus launched to drive up awareness

The NHS is hitting the road with their new cancer ‘bus-ting’ tour to help raise awareness for the early signs and symptoms, encouraging people to check in with their GP.

Following on from World Cancer Day – which occurred on 4th February – the new NHS double decker bus will be touring the country for five days this week with NHS staff and nurses from Cancer Research UK giving advice on signs to look for with cancer symptoms.

woman in pink and white polka dot shirt

In partnership with Stagecoach, the UK’s largest bus and coach operator, the NHS bus began its tour Yesterday in Blackburn, but will be moving to Sunderland, Barnsley and Leicester and will complete its route in London on Friday 10th February.    

Featuring as part of the ‘Help us, Help You’ campaign – which launched on 17th January – the tour is the latest NHS initiative to help drive earlier cancer diagnosis and tackle health inequalities, ultimately improving survival rates.  

The campaign addresses the stigma and fears surrounding cancer, with recent surveys showing 53% of people say they worry about cancer every few months or more.

Overall, the NHS has seen a positive increase in helping treat cancer patients, with the latest figures from 2022 displaying over 2.8 million people were seen in the UK last year – up almost a fifth in the same period before the pandemic.

Previously, the UK government were committed to publishing a 10-year strategy to encourage cancer progress within the NHS, however, this has been dropped in favour of a five-year ‘major conditions strategy’ which will combine their approach to cancer, alongside other issues such as dementia and strokes.

In aid of World Cancer Day, Cancer Research UK, claimed government targets on cancer have repeatedly been missed. As of November 2022 – only 61% of patients in England started treatment within 62 days of an urgent suspected cancer referral. The government target of 85% has not been met since 2015.  

National Clinical Director for Cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, said: ‘We have seen a fantastic response to our Help Us, Help You cancer campaigns so far and are already seeing record levels of people coming forward for cancer checks, with thousands more people starting cancer treatment than in previous years.

‘This bus tour is another example of how we are going further in our ambition to diagnose more cancers at an earlier stage than ever before, by engaging directly with people in their own communities as they are going about their daily routines.

‘Trained staff will be on hand to discuss any concerns people may have about cancer symptoms and to inform them on what to look out for.

‘It’s vitally important that people are aware of what is normal for their bodies and that when they notice something isn’t right, they feel empowered to come forward’. 

Photo by Susan G. Komen 3-Day


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