Educate. Support. Interact.
From, 2009 to 2016, we ran our Early Presentation of Cancer (EPOC) Programme; a community-led initiative, driven to change the way people think about cancer. We work with local people to develop their understanding of the signs and symptoms of cancer, recognise the importance of an early diagnosis and to go to their doctor if they are worried.
EPOC was formed out of a need to lower the mortality from cancer, in an ever-growing and ageing population and within the most deprived areas of Lincolnshire. We work directly in the most affected communities, where an intervention can help to bring these numbers down, and bring about a long-term change.
Cancer awareness is at the heart of what we do within this programme – the more people we can educate about the signs and symptoms of cancer, the better! This is done in a fun, light-hearted way, whilst still recognising the seriousness of the topic.
Aims of EPOC:
- To promote the early presentation of cancer symptoms to GPs.
- Raise awareness of the importance of early detection through recognition of the signs and symptoms.
- Work with GPs to raise awareness and use of early diagnosis tools.
- Promoting better uptake and attendance at screening sessions.
- Work in the heart of communities, developing volunteering and social marketing
What we do:
- Concentrate on the areas where cancer is being diagnosed at a much later stage
- Consult with other local organisations and cancer services
- Recruit volunteers who help to spread the message within their community
- Work closely with GPs and Practice Managers
- Attend events, run campaigns, carry our partnership working and spread the message
Testimonial from a school we have regularly worked with:
“Just a quick email to say how invaluable the Boobs and Balls PSHE Sessions are, as part of my Year 11 PSHE Programme. The students always give positive feedback after their talk, and the presenters are well-prepared and deliver a highly important and informative session. I’ve used this session for a number of years and plan to do so in the future. Kind regards, Helen Bates” William Farr Church of England Comprehensive School, Welton, Lincoln.
Campaigns, Education and Training:
Pink Pants: We developed the ‘Pink Pants’ campaign to encourage more women, aged, 25-60, to attend their cervical screening appointments. You can learn more about our Pink Pants Campaign here, in our Final Report Pink Pants – Promoting Cervical Screening Report – Oct 14
Using the C-Word – Talk About Cancer: This is our campaign to talk more openly. We recognise that cancer and using the ‘C’Word’ is still a very difficult subject for people to talk about. By thinking differently and making it a part of everyday conversation, perhaps we would recognise the signs and symptoms, or help others to do so. We offer a ‘C-Word’ training session, which aims to make you think differently about cancer, and how we talk about it to other people.
Boobs and Balls: This campaign is aimed at delivery a health body awareness message to young people. The initiative is designed to promote greater awareness of the signs of breast and testicular cancer and the importance of early presentation to GPs. The campaign visits schools, universities, sporting events and youth groups to inform young people of the health benefits of regular self-examination.
HPV Monster: This was created alongside students at Mablethorpe College, alongside work on cervical screening information.
Check it Out: You can find ‘Check it Out!’ leaflets at most GP surgeries, local libraries and other community venues in Lincolnshire. The leaflet lists the signs and symptoms for the five most common types of cancer – using this as a checklist if you’re worried can help to start the conversation with your GP.
We gained a strong team of EPOC volunteers, many of whom are still continuing their excellent work, after the programme has ceased to be funded.
- Arrange events
- Make local community contacts
- Produce campaign materials
- Do presentations and talks
- ….and lots of other exciting thing.
Quotes from our volunteers:
“I volunteer because I’m a cancer survivor myself. I feel that the support EPOC gives out to people is very important and I get an awful lot of reward back from what EPOC do”
“It gives me a great sense of worth and an awful lot of pleasure, because you can see that you are helping somebody”
You can find out more about our EPOC project through the dedicated EPOC website www.epoc.me and why not follow the programme on social media
This programme was funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health Lincolnshire
We create Annual Reports for our EPOC programme, which you are welcome to download here: