Starting in July 2020 and culminating in October, during Bone Cancer Awareness Week, we delivered the biggest primary bone cancer and tumour awareness campaign ever undertaken in the UK! We provided healthcare professionals with the tools to recognise the symptoms of primary bone cancer, and the necessary referral pathways for diagnosis.
We teamed up with Children with Cancer UK to deliver the Bone Cancer Awareness Initiative - saving lives through earlier diagnosis, a 100-day ground breaking educational campaign, aiming to reach all GP practices, medical students, radiology departments, musculoskeletal physiotherapists and pharmacies in the country, with bespoke information materials describing the symptoms of primary bone cancer, and containing guidance on how to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of primary bone cancer.
We reached 10,771 GP surgeries, 12,811 pharmacy practices, 1,542 radiology departments, 586 musculoskeletal physiotherapy practices and all 44 medical schools in the UK.
The free information materials are also available on our website; to date, they have been downloaded 3,119 times by healthcare professionals, and the awareness campaign webpages have been visited 13,321 times!
A task force of medical professionals supported our campaign and during Bone Cancer Awareness Week (12th-18th October) delivered a series of webinars targeted to each of the key specialties that patients encounter during their diagnostic journeys, as well as medical students, as healthcare professionals of the future. They were attended by over 700 GPs, physiotherapists, radiologists, pharmacists, medical students and the general public; additionally we had 100's more registered to receive a recording of the webinars. They continue to be accessed through our website links and to date, they have been viewed over 2,800 times.
A physiotherapist who attended one of our webinars said:
I thought it was excellent. I have never received training in the area in 20 years of practice. I think your resources are very helpful and will be sharing with management.
To support the awareness campaign, we carried out a survey on symptoms and referral pathways, and we were delighted to receive 739 responses. We interpreted the data and produced the most comprehensive analysis of the diagnostic experiences for primary bone cancer patients to date - our 2020 Patient Survey Report is available now.
Findings from our 2020 Patient Survey Report were presented at the British Orthopaedic Oncology Society annual meeting that took place virtually on 13th November.
Dr Zoe Davison, Head of Research, Information and Support, said:
Primary bone cancer patients currently make an average of 8 visits to healthcare professionals and over a quarter wait 7 months before receiving a diagnosis. The awareness activities we have undertaken this year aim to change this. We hope that our vital educational materials and training webinars will dramatically improve patient outcomes and reduce strain on NHS services by reducing the visits needed to make an accurate diagnosis and onward referral. We continue to urge all healthcare professionals to engage with our initiative and educational materials and share them amongst colleagues.
To find out more about the Bone Cancer Awareness Initiative, access our free educational materials and watch our webinars, please click below.