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£9m cancer awareness fund announced

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The government will provide £9m to fund a set of local campaigns aimed at warning people about the early signs of cancer.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be used to help spread the message that people should visit their GP if they have any symptoms or concerns.

More than 120,000 people a year are affected by bowel, breast and lung cancer in the UK alone, but chances of surviving the diseases are high if caught early. It is estimated that if cancer survival rates in England were the same as the best in Europe, another 10,000 lives could be saved.

Health minister Mr Burstow announced that from January, 59 regional campaigns will launch and will either focus on breast, bowel, lung or a combination of the three cancers depending on the area.

Two pilot studies relating to bowel cancer will also be set up to examine whether an awareness campaign would be effective on a national level.

Mr Burstow said: “Our campaign will help people to be more alert to the early signs and symptoms of cancer and encourage them to seek medical advice as soon as possible.”

In Doncaster, a bus stop that made a coughing noise led to an increase in the number of people who visited their GP for an X-ray to detect lung cancer.

The number of cases diagnosed in that month rose by almost 60%, compared with the same month in the previous year.

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