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Nurse assessor – supporting early cancer diagnosis

Cancer screening in the UK is estimated to save approximately 10,000 lives each year and cancers diagnosed through the programmes are more likely to be found at an earlier stage. However, we recognise that not everyone can easily access screening. Our nurse assessor identifies patients who have not taken up their invitation to one of the cancer screening programmes – bowel, breast and cervical cancer. She then assesses them to understand if there is a specific barrier of difficulty in accessing screening. With their consent, she contacts each identified patient to discuss their reasons and explores the best way in which to support them.   

Support can range from; discussing the pros and cons of screening, providing patients with easy-to-read materials or even offering an appointment reminder service.  

As part of the role, our nurse assessor also holds health education sessions, talking to community groups about cancer and screening.  

She can also provide help to those who have been referred for a suspected cancer diagnosis, who may need additional support to attend appointments or help navigating their way through the healthcare system.  She assists each patient until cancer is confirmed or ruled out.