THE mobile cancer awareness and information vehicle, iVan, assisted in the diagnosis of a staggering 44 cancer cases last year alone*, helping to save a significant number of lives in the fight against the disease.
The iVan, which travels around Merseyside and Cheshire, offers free information on all aspects of cancer to promote early detection and prevention of the disease. The trained staff on board will encourage locals to get checked out straight away if they notice any changes to their body.
Residents who hop on board iVan can benefit from a range of services; these include a chat with the qualified nurse, Debbie Doherty, an insight into signs and symptoms from the resource coordinator Justine Kennedy, or simply to browse the leaflets at their leisure.
Last year iVan staff helped to provide advice to more than 45,000 visitors to the service across the region, with more than 400 of these being referred to their local GP or cancer specialist for further investigation.
The iVan has been battling cancer in the Merseyside and Cheshire region since 2009, but with 2012 marking the Year of Action on Cancer, iVan and its team are determined to increase the survival rates of cancer patients, by encouraging take-up of the service and promoting early detection of the disease.
Debbie Doherty, iVan manager, travels around in the mobile cancer awareness and information vehicle and has seen the free-to-use service go from strength to strength.
Debbie is backing NHS Merseyside's Year of Action on Cancer campaign, encouraging people in the region to go and get checked out by their GP if they're worried about any signs and symptoms of cancer.
Debbie said: "The Year of Action on Cancer is a fantastic campaign that we're hoping will encourage people to take advantage of the service we offer at iVan. Over the past year we've seen a huge increase in visitors and have been able to save a number of lives due to detecting the disease in its early stages.
"We're always on the move across the region and try to reach as many people as possible in the most convenient locations. This ranges from busy high streets to supermarket entrances, so people never have to travel out of their way. Many of our visitors pop in while they're shopping for their weekly groceries or out meeting a friend for a coffee - it really is that easy.
"It's a proven fact that the earlier cancer is detected, the greater the chances of survival, so we urge people to get themselves checked out as soon as they notice any changes to their body with their GP. …