We need to do something for the community and start conversations: use this word cancer so that people are free to talk about it. And when they are free to talk, they will be able to know more about cancer, how they can prevent it, what are the services available, what are the services not available, and what else they can do. It’s all about communities talking about it rather than hiding it.

We need an army of volunteers who can take this message out. It needs to be started somewhere. So what I did was set up a Health and Social Care Ambassador’s group at the Salford Clinical Commissioning group. The volunteer ambassadors are from the different communities, and they speak different languages: Urdu; Punjabi; Arabic; Farsi; Swahili; and many other different languages. They go out into the community and talk about cancer. They take it out deep in the community. The volunteers are from those communities, and so when they speak freely about cancer, they are able to discuss it openly. They talk about the different services that are available, and what can be done to prevent it. So rather than waiting for first, second or third stage, they can talk about it early and how people can first of all detect the cancer.

Talking to people and taking that message out deep into the community, is so important. People presume that if we have got a leaflet or an article which is in Urdu or Punjabi, then the people will read it. But there are many people who can’t even read their own language. They can speak, but they can’t read. So that’s why speaking face to face, one to one, is the best way of reaching out to the people. People talking to people, community talking to community. It will make so much difference.

People talking to people, community talking to community. It will make so much difference.

Our growing network of Cancer Champions is at the heart of our cancer prevention work across Greater Manchester