If you go to the cinema, watch TV, or catch a bus or a train (or click ‘play’ on the video above) you might come across our latest advertising campaign, which launched today.

Building on a successful local pilot campaign in the North of England in March, we’re rolling out the campaign – called Spot Cancer Sooner – nationally throughout November, with TV and cinema advertising, outdoor posters, digital adverts, social media and PR activity, as well as posters in our shops and at our Cancer Awareness Roadshows.

By showing a lump growing out of the ground while people ignore it as they go about their everyday business, the campaign serves as a reminder of how easy it is to not to notice changes when we’re busy.

We hope this empowers people to recognise the importance of spotting cancer sooner, and encourages them to support us to realise our goal of improving cancer survival. After all, cancers diagnosed at an earlier stage generally have more treatment options, with a better chance of survival.

Pilot testing

Bus stop poster

Coming soon to a bus stop near you

We’ve got good reason to believe the campaign will be effective. When we tested it out in the North West earlier this year, we were encouraged to see that it allowed us to reach both new and existing supporters.

But on top of this, compared to those who said they hadn’t seen the campaign, those who said they had were more likely to have been body aware, and to have made an appointment to see their GP about an unusual or persistent change in the last month.

This was confirmed in more in-depth analysis, where people said it reminded them ‘not to ignore lumps and bumps’ and to ‘get anything checked’.

Diagnosing cancers earlier is important stuff: it could save thousands of lives every year, and there’s evidence that people’s reticence to get persistent changes checked out – while far from the whole picture – is an important part of the reason why cancers are sometimes diagnosed late.

Of course, it’s not just about public awareness – to coincide with the launch, we also released new stats last week showing how complex the picture is around the country, and how much of an impact we could make if every region in was as good as the best.

But as well as working with healthcare professionals to support them in helping people with suspected cancer, and campaigning for more investment in NHS services to diagnose them swiftly (or rule cancer out), we want to encourage people to be more body aware and to know they can turn to us for information and support on helping to spot cancer early.

There are many possible signs of cancer, it’s not just about lumps. What our new campaign aims to bring home to people is that whatever it is, if it’s not normal for you it’s important to get it checked out.

To find out more, you can speak to our nurses on 08088004040 or read our online information about spotting cancer sooner.

– Anoushka Periyan is a health marketing manager at Cancer Research UK