Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation


Social marketing and behaviour change support

Social marketing uses a blend of traditional marketing techniques and other approaches to influence people’s behaviour. We will use social marketing to gain insights about specific groups of people and so help prevent them becoming ill or encourage them to visit their doctor sooner. We want to see a shift from treating disease to improving our population’s wellbeing. Social marketing will help us engage with people earlier in their lives and so support them in shifting the focus towards prevention and earlier detection of disease, rather than treatment of the disease at a late stage. The insights we gain from social marketing will help us create a citizen-led social movement (project 2) and improve screening (project 3).

Jane Pilkington, Vanguard Innovation Lead for Prevention and Deputy Director for Population Health, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, describes our prevention work

Citizen-led social movement

We believe it is crucial that we have a fully engaged population in Greater Manchester and Cheshire, a population that takes ownership of and responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. We want to harness the energies of diverse groups to create a social movement, a large group of people moving towards a shared goal. We will focus on existing networks and campaigns and support them to develop their own activity. The voluntary sector will play a significant role in this project, the central feature of which is the recruitment of thousands of cancer champions who will promote key messages about preventing cancer in their communities.

Donna Miller, from health and social care charity BHA, discusses the work of cancer champions with current cancer champion Gilbert Morgan

Enhanced screening offer for Greater Manchester residents

This project aims to improve access to and uptake of three national cancer screening programmes (bowel, breast, and cervical) among the eligible population of Greater Manchester residents. Evidence indicates that breast screening prevents approximately 1,300 deaths per year while cervical screening prevents almost 4,000 cases of cancer per year. However, to be efficient, a screening programme needs high attendance rates. This project aims to increase uptake, improve fairness in access to screening and improve patients’ experience of the cancer screening programme.

The project is divided into three parts. The first involves using behavioural insights to increase the effectiveness of the initial invitation and reminder letters to eligible residents. The second part will involve using health equity audits (HEAs) to identify variations in the way services are used. The third part will use innovative patient engagement to improve people’s experience of screening. This approach will focus on ‘always events’, experiences that patients feel should always happen, and on ‘teachable moments’ when a positive or negative diagnosis of cancer can provide motivation to improve a patient’s or their family’s lifestyle.

Lifestyle-based secondary prevention

We will change the way we support cancer survivors. Growing numbers of people are living long-term with cancer and there is strong evidence that lifestyle factors play a crucial role in whether or not the disease progresses. We will develop a support package focusing on ‘secondary prevention’ that starts at the moment of diagnosis and aims to prevent further illness or reverse the patient’s cancer. We will ensure all cancer patients in Greater Manchester have access to help in changing their lifestyles, and we will signpost patients to digital platforms that offer further advice and support.