Lancashire Adult Learning (LAL) is using World Cancer Day (February 4th) this year as an opportunity to promote their wide range of health & wellbeing courses, in particular those that focus on raising awareness about the main types of cancer, building confidence in discussing the disease and the importance of cancer screening for prevention and early diagnosis.
‘Screening for Prevention & Good Health’ aims to raise awareness of the three national cancer screening programmes in England; Breast Screening, Cervical Screening and Bowel Screening, building adults confidence in attending appointments or completing test kits.
The LAL team also offer a course specifically aimed at men, It’s a Man’s Life, which alongside other key health topics such as mental health, also aims to raise awareness of key male cancers, including prostrate. Increasing learner’s knowledge of the free PSA test which is available through your GP, has led to an increase in early diagnosis in some cases.
“Ten-year survival is more than 90% for people whose cancer is diagnosed at stage one, compared with 5% for those whose disease is found at stage four” says Sarah Haworth, the Head of Curriculum for Health & Wellbeing at LAL; “it is vital that the relevant information on prevention and detection of these issues is readily available to the people within our community, in order to prevent the tragedies we have become all too familiar with”.
Roisin Pelan, a LAL partner who has herself been diagnosed with breast cancer twice, has helped collaboratively design a health-based curriculum that informs and educates the local community around issues that are close to her heart.
Roisin emphasizes the importance of being overtly alert and aware of the signs of breast cancer during gestation, as many of the tell-tale indicators can easily be mistaken as symptoms of the pregnancy.
“This is particularly important,” says Roisin; “as many of the tell-tale signs of breast cancer can easily be mistaken as symptoms of a pregnancy, including beast aching and lumps – which can be overlooked during this time.”
Furthermore, LAL is working with adults within BAME (black, Asian, minority-ethnic) communities where English is not their first language and they face multiple barriers to accessing screening programmes. Outlining the process, having the opportunity to ask questions, for these learners has significantly increased their confidence in and awareness of cancer and the screening programmes available to them in England. In a number of cases, some of these adults have then gone on to attend a screening appointment for the first time.
Similarly, cultural barriers can create stigmas around self-treatment such as self-checks and open, honest communication about personal health problems. LAL’s targeted courses have been aiming to address these directly through courses such as ESOL and the further health and wellbeing offers.
The range of health-based courses currently offered by LAL is varied and wide, from healthy eating courses that provide learners with knowledge and skills to cook healthy nutritious meals on a budget, to general wellbeing courses such as introductions to yoga and meditation. Most importantly, many of these courses are free and easy to access with online options available on selected programmes.
These programmes, according to LAL, are important in the prevention of cancer as around 1 in 3 cases of the most common cancers could be prevented by eating a healthy diet, keeping to a healthy weight and being more active. There are some things you can do to lower your risk of developing cancer. But you cannot reduce your risk completely through your lifestyle. (https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/worried-about-cancer/causes-and-risk-factors)
For more information on the health-based courses offered by Lancashire Adult Learning, please visit their website or contact them at 0333 003 1717 or visit https://www.lal.ac.uk/what-we-do/health-wellbeing/ for a full breakdown of these courses.