ForHousing promotes early cancer screening

Progressive landlord ForHousing has teamed up with the Answer Cancer campaign and local NHS services to encourage people to check for signs of cancer.
Cancer survivor and team member Lisa Walker

The partnership launch also marks Breast Cancer Awareness Day (Friday 22 October).

Answer Cancer is run by Greater Manchester Screening Engagement Programme, which is a voluntary sector partnership aiming to increase uptake of cancer screening across Greater Manchester.

ForHousing, which has homes across the North West and Greater Manchester, wants to encourage higher uptake of screening and testing for various types of cancer including bowel, breast and cervical cancer, especially among tenants and staff.

Answer Cancer and local NHS services will deliver awareness sessions in communities that are less likely to take up screening.

In addition, the landlord is working to raise awareness of the importance of cancer screening in the other areas it operates in, including Knowsley and Chester and Cheshire West.

Screening detects early signs of cancer in people not yet showing symptoms. The earlier cancer is found, the more successful treatment is likely to be.

ForHousing is also arranging training for all of its staff with an Answer Cancer specialist trainer, to enable them to spot the signs of cancer when visiting tenants or people in their community, be informed about screening programmes and separate cancer facts from myths.

ForHousing will support Answer Cancer to recruit more Answer Cancer Champions – a growing network of local people who, alongside raising cancer and screening awareness, will be sharing their experiences to help debunk cancer myths.

Lisa Walker, the rehousing pathway navigator at forfutures, ForHousing’s homelessness support service, has recently spoken out about the importance of getting checked, being a breast cancer survivor herself.

Lisa, from Ellesmere Port, found the confidence to share her story after hearing the sad news of 39-year-old Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding losing her life to breast cancer.

Lisa was 39 herself and a single parent to her teenage son when she found out she had stage two breast cancer.

Now five years later, and with her major surgery over, Lisa is encouraging others to regularly get checked and is firmly behind the new awareness raising.

She said: “I want to make people aware that checking and get early diagnoses is so important. If you have any concerns, go and see your GP, don’t be embarrassed.

“To anyone who thinks they might have cancer or have found a lump, get it checked out straight away. It is scary but the earlier it is caught, the better. Breast cancer is very treatable when caught early. There’s a journey you will go on but there is nearly always a solution.”

Martyn Hague, director of neighbourhoods at ForHousing said: “We’re really proud of Lisa for sharing her story and helping raise awareness.

“We really care about the health and wellbeing of staff and tenants as well as the wider community. Our wellbeing strategy underpins all our work at ForHousing. We are looking forward to working with Answer Cancer and local NHS services across the areas we operate in to raise awareness about life-saving cancer screenings.”

Early detection of cancer is key. Regular screenings for breast cancer will pick up any changes usually before it turns cancerous, and if cancer is detected at stage one, around 98% of women will survive their cancer for five years or more.

Similarly, if bowel cancer (the fourth most common cancer in the UK) is diagnosed at the earliest stage, more than 90% of people will be successfully treated.

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Image: Cancer survivor and team member Lisa Walker.

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