A national public health campaign will run in all community pharmacies in Wales from Tuesday 1 to Thursday 31 July 2014. The campaign will encourage eligible men and women to take up free NHS screening for bowel cancer and other conditions.
The pharmacy campaign is part of the national ‘Screening For Life’ campaign being run by Public Health Wales Screening Division throughout July, which this year is focussing on bowel cancer.
As part of the campaign community pharmacies across Wales will engage with people at high risk of bowel cancer. This group is men and women between 60 and 74 years old and who rarely take exercise and who are overweight.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in women and men in Wales, with over 2000 new cases diagnosed each year. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in men and third in women, with around 1000 deaths in Wales per year.
Andrew Evans, Principal Pharmacist for Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales is always looking for innovative new ways to promote our services, because screening really does save lives. Screening helps identify cancer early, and regular bowel screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16 per cent.
“Pharmacies are a great place to get this message out, because they are a valuable community resource which we all use. By working with Community Pharmacy Wales on this campaign, Public Health Wales can help people raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.”
Chris James, Chair of Community Pharmacy Wales and a Director of Walter Lloyd Pharmacy in Carmarthen said: “In community pharmacies we are ideally placed to remind people every day about the free screening service provided by Public Health Wales.
“In the privacy of a pharmacy Consultation Room, we are also able to talk to and reassure people who may be anxious what the screening assessments involve and to do what we can to make sure they don't ignore the need to get screened whether or not they have any signs which suggest they should seek further advice from their doctor".
The campaign will also encourage eligible men and women to take up free NHS screening for breast and cervical cancers, and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA). Age groups at high risk who will be targeted to get screened are:
Women between 50 years and 70 years for breast screening Women up to 64 years for cervical screening Men up to 65 years for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening Men and women between 60 years and 74 years for bowel
The ‘Screening for Life’ pharmacy campaign is one of three national campaigns run annually by Public Health Wales and Community Pharmacy Wales.
The July 2013 ‘Look After Your Eyes’ pharmacy campaign run in partnership by Public Health Wales, Community Pharmacy Wales, RNIB Cymru and Optometry Wales won the UK Chemist and Druggist Award 2014 for Multidisciplinary Innovation.
To follow the campaign on Twitter, see what events are happening in your area, and keep up to date with campaign facts, figures and messages, follow @publichealthw and @cpwales and the hashtag #S4L14
For more information about the wider Screening for Life campaign, and for a full list of events, visit www.screening.wales.nhs.uk.