There are  three national cancer screening programmes in England: breastbowelcervical.

Despite the fact that bowel and cervical screening coverage in West Yorkshire and Harrogate is above the England average, it is below average for breast screening, and coverage for breast and cervical is below national targets. Cervical screening coverage is falling in our region, especially in the younger age group. The Healthy Communities Programme is working hard with system partners to support the restoration of these programmes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is wide variation in screening uptake and coverage between different regions in England, and also across the local places which make up West Yorkshire and Harrogate. We know that uptake of cancer screening is lower in certain populations - for example, people living with physical and/or learning disabilities, trans and gender diverse people, people living in more deprived areas, people living with mental health issues and some ethnic minority groups.

The Healthy Communities programme works with stakeholders to target these 'low-uptake' groups, firstly by understanding the barriers to accessing cancer screening, and subsequently using evidence-based and 'good practice' interventions to overcome these barriers where possible.

Screening Good Practice Interventions.jpg

More information about cancer screening:

Who is eligible for which screening programme? What happens? What are the benefits and risks?

  • Cervical screening: Visit the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Jo's Trust websites, including up-to-date changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Bowel screeningCRUK website, and the Macmillan website.
  • Breast screeningCRUK website and Macmillan which includes a link to an eBook.

Information about cancer screening if you…

  • Have experienced trauma and/or mental illness: short cervical screening video and leaflet from Jo’s Trust
  • Are trans, non-binary and/or gender diverse: information on screening eligibility and support from CRUK, as well as

Accessible information about cancer screening:

  • Sound clips and videos about cancer and screening from Easy Health website.
  • Photostories for breast and cervical screening. These can also be useful for non-English speakers.
  • Short films about breast screening are at the bottom of this page, and a short film on cervical screening here.
  • Videos using British Sign Language about cancer screening from Public Health Scotland.
  • Leaflets in additional languages here for cervical, bowel and breast screening

Work To Share

  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance has collaborated with colleagues in the wider WYH Health and Care Partnership to produce a two-page Top Tips document on how best to support people with learning disabilities with cancer-related issues. It includes links to useful resources for staff and patients, as well as advice on screening and health inequalities faced by patients with learning disabilities. Click here to view the document
  • Click here for the new Easy Read FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) bowel screening leaflet. It explains the screening process and how to complete the kit. This was produced by local accessible media organisation, BTM, with help from the regional Bowel Screening Hub.
  • As part of their insight to inform an upcoming screening uptake media campaign, our partners at Magpie conducted a survey into attitudes and barriers to screening in our region. The report of their results detailing barriers to screening in West Yorkshire can be found by clicking here 
  • A film for women with learning disabilities to take the fear out of going for breast screenings has been produced by North Bristol NHS Trust. It tells the story of a woman with learning difficulties being asked to go for a mammogram and follows her though the process. You can view the film here

   It has been well documented that women with learning disabilities are not well informed about breast cancer         and that the uptake of breast screening in this group is very low. The video is aimed at changing perceptions for       people with learning difficulties and encourage them to look after their health by going for the test.

  • The Alliance is working with the Bowel Screening Hub and the local areas to improve access to FIT screening for people with learning disabilities and in mental health trusts. This is based on a model used in the North East. Find out more here.
  • In West Yorkshire & Harrogate we are involved in a new innovation in cervical screening: HPV self-sampling. It is hoped that this will reduce inequalities in screening uptake by removing many of the known barriers. More about the trial here.
  • We are working with partners to support primary care to improve screening uptake by targeting areas of inequality, using behavioural science techniques based on a model used in South Yorkshire.
  • In many local places we work closely with CRUK to co-ordinate and deliver training to primary care ‘Cancer Champions’ to equip staff with the knowledge to identify and follow-up non-responders to screening. This has been shown in some areas to result in 30-34% of patients contacted going on to participate in screening.
  • Periodically we provide screening uptake datapacks to GP practices to allow them to compare their screening coverage over recent years with other practices in their Primary Care Network, and CCG. Download an example here 

Resources for professionals wanting to improve screening uptake:

Healthy Communities Gateway C.pngResources for primary care:

GatewayC is a free online education platform containing courses and symptom maps which are focused on early diagnosis of cancers available to all healthcare professionals. The courses are accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners, are worth Continuing Professional Development points, and have been proven in   pilots to increase healthcare worker confidence in diagnosis,   high quality referral of patients who could have early signs   and symptoms of cancer and ability to follow NICE guidance. 

Quick Wins For Early Diagnosis and Improving Uptake Of Screening in Primary Care Networks

  • CRUK have produced excellent Good Practice guides to support primary care in improving cervical and bowel screening uptake and contacting patients who haven’t responded to invitations.
  • Good Practice Guide for Bowel, Breast & Cervical Screening in Primary Care from PHE and NHSE here.

If you would like our Project Manager to meet with your practice/PCN to discuss how to improve early diagnosis of cancer in your population(s), please email