Government readies £9m cancer campaign

The Department of Health has been given the green light to launch a £9m campaign to alert people to the early signs of cancer despite the current restrictions on departmental spending.

The social marketing and advertising activity, planned for January next year, will consist of 59 local campaigns focussing on breast, bowel and lung cancer.

For example, NHS Leeds plans to advertise on bus routes to encourage early presentation and reduce mortality from lung cancer among the over 50s.

Funding for the campaign has been cleared by the Cabinet Office, according to a spokeswoman.

There is currently a freeze on “non-essential” marketing and advertising spending by government departments. Departmental spending over £25,000 now has to pass strict criteria to be cleared by the Cabinet Office.

The activity was cleared, the spokeswoman adds, because it passed the Cabinet Office’s test that “the campaign will deliver measurable benefits relating directly to immediate public health and safety.”

The DoH says that MCBD, VCCP and M&C Saatchi are pitching for the creative business. A decision is expected in October or November.

The department is also trialling a centrally-led campaign in two regions to raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms.

The campaign will be introduced nationally, it adds in a statement, “subject to evaluation”.

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