Residents of Hastings and Rother will be lighting up the streets on Friday, May 11 with a special night-time lantern trail to raise awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer.
It is part of the Hastings and Rother Community Cancer Awareness Project, which works in the local community to help improve health outcomes relating to cancer. This includes encouraging people to take part in screening programmes for breast and bowel cancers.
There has been good progress locally at increasing earlier presentation of cancer and more people are surviving cancer in Hastings and Rother compared to previous years. However, some parts of Hastings have significantly lower uptake for both breast and bowel cancer screening compared to country-wide figures. For breast cancer screening, in some areas, only 49 per cent of women in Hastings take part, compared to 72 per cent nationally.
Screening programmes help detect changes before they turn into cancer and find cancers earlier.
According to figures from Public Health England, only 43 per cent of cancers are found at an early stage in Hastings and Rother compared to 51 per cent nationally. In addition, Hastings has a higher than average rate of early deaths from preventable cancer at 92 per 100,000. This compares to 81 per 100,000 in England.
Since 2015, the Hastings and Rother Community Cancer Awareness Project has undertaken a range of community-based activities to encourage more people to talk about cancer.
The lantern trail will take place over a one-mile route between Ore Community Centre and Downs Farm Community Centre.
This will be preceded by a market with stalls, games and other activities for people of all ages. The aim is to bring communities and local organisations together to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer.
Hastings and Rother Community Cancer Awareness Project is commissioned by NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) and delivered by Unique Improvements, a social enterprise that specialises in supporting community awareness of cancer.
David Holloway, project co-ordinator for the Hastings and Rother Community Cancer Awareness Project said: “The lantern trail is a great way to raise awareness of cancer and promote early diagnosis and saving lives. This is an exciting opportunity for people to come together and help make this a successful and fun event that benefits the local community.”
Richard Watson, health inequalities programme manager for NHS Hastings and Rother CCG, said: “Cancer is one of the main contributors to inequalities in life expectancy in Hastings and Rother so this event is an innovative and visual way to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms with local people. I’d like to encourage people of all ages to take part.”
Activities commence at 7pm on Friday, May 11 at Ore Community Centre. The lantern trail sets off from there at 8.30pm and is due to arrive at Downs Farms Community Centre by 9pm. For details, visit www.facebook.com/awarenesscancer or text SHINE to 88440.