A new elearning programme to help community pharmacists identify and respond to patients’ possible cancer symptoms is now available on Health Education England elearning for healthcare’s (HEE elfh) Hub.
The NHS Long-Term Plan sets out a new ambition that, by 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 will rise from around half now to 3 quarters of cancer patients. Achieving this will mean that, from 2028, 55,000 more people each year will survive their cancer for at least 5 years after diagnosis.
Let’s Communicate Cancer focuses on the contribution of community pharmacy to the early diagnosis of cancer, where patients come to the pharmacy for help in managing symptoms that they do not realise may be cancer, such as diarrhoea or a long-standing cough. Pharmacies can advise when it might be something more serious and where it is best to get them checked out.
The programme, developed by the British Oncology Pharmacy Association (BOPA), features 4 modules which cover the following topics:
- early diagnosis and prevention
- what is cancer?
- treatment for cancer
- supporting your patients with cancer
There is also a resource bank within the programme which features links to some lead cancer organisations such as British Oncology Pharmacy Association, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan, published articles and posters, and cancer campaign materials and several quizzes to test learners’ knowledge.
On completion of the programme, learners will be more familiar and aware of symptoms that may be suggestive of cancer and understand how lifestyle factors contribute to cancer. The programme also provides useful hints and tips to support conversations with patients, encouraging referral to the GP where appropriate.
For more information and to access the resource, please visit the Let’s Communicate Cancer programme page.