Busting cancer myths for cancer prevention

24 September 2014 | Healthy living

As part of our on-going work to help health professionals spread the cancer prevention message, we held our first regional event for community health workers last week.

Busting cancer myths in Manchester

We invited health trainers, workplace health advisors, health improvement specialists, pharmacists and more to join us at our one-day event in Manchester to learn more about the challenges that they face in their work, as well as to raise awareness of cancer risk factors and share some practical ways that they can start people on their journey to better health.

Delegates at our Busting Cancer Myths workshop said they felt more confident talking to patients about healthy lifestyles after attending

With more than 90 delegates attending, who gave us rave reviews, it was a resounding success and encouraging to see so many committed professionals join us in our mission to stop anyone developing a preventable cancer.

The science behind the message

WCRF UK’s General Manager Amanda McLean introduced the day before our Deputy Head of Health Information, Maya Monteiro, talked about the scientific evidence behind our cancer prevention advice and showed how WCRF UK can support health workers with our range of resources and online health tools.

Karan Thomas gave valuable advice about the sort of encouraging language health workers can use to broach sensitive issues

Other speakers included Professor Annie Anderson who spoke about the importance of making every contact count, and Karan Thomas, who gave an overview of how health workers can approach a conversation about changing health behaviours in a way that’s most useful to their patients and clients.

There was also a chance to hear from the Rochdale Health Chatters team, who shared their own experiences of how they’ve helped people discuss health in a non-confrontational and supportive way.

We also enjoyed putting healthy event planning into practise, with a healthy lunch menu and a prize for the delegate who clocked up the most steps on their pedometer!

Feeling confident about cancer prevention

We handed out health tools to attendees so that they can help prevent cancer

We were all delighted to hear that the event helped delegates feel more confident about talking about cancer risk factors and the link between cancer and lifestyle.

In fact, the number of delegates who felt confident talking about cancer prevention increased by 48 per cent, from 34 per cent to 82 per cent.

We also got some great feedback about the day, with delegates saying that the event provided invaluable information and a chance to interact with and learn from peers and experts in the field.

Innovation and passion

What was particularly inspiring about the day was the chance to hear the variety of innovative ways that health workers are already encouraging their patients and clients to change their behaviour for the better.

From mobile vans in Merseyside that raise awareness about cancer to the health chatters project in Rochdale, the range of methods that health workers are using to help their communities was truly impressive.

WCRF workshop delegates gave us rave reviews

Despite the different ways that health workers are trying to help the public, one common thread pulled them all together – a passion to help people lead healthier lives and reduce the number of people developing preventable diseases, including cancer.

Our guests were all committed to helping people reduce their cancer risk through eating well, moving more and staying in shape – and to helping to bust the myth that there is nothing anyone can do to protect themselves from this disease.

In fact, 96 per cent of our delegates said that they believe that talking about cancer prevention is part of their role – but 46 per cent had never received cancer prevention training.

This is why it’s so important that we continue to work with this hugely important and highly influential group.

With these hardworking, inspiring health workers, we hope to reach even more people with our cancer prevention message so that they can make informed choices and lead happier, healthier lives free from cancer.

If you want to come along to one of our health worker events, visit our events page to sign up. Together we can help prevent cancer.

News | 24 September 2014

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