A WOMAN from Penarth has been chosen to lead an innovative new programme which aims to give cancer patients the best chance of surviving the disease.

Deborah Howarth, who lives just off Redlands Road, will support GPs and other healthcare professionals - including dentists and pharmacists - to diagnose cancer earlier when treatment is more effective.

Mrs Howarth’s team will work across Cardiff and Vale, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Aneurin Bevan health boards.

Mrs Howarth, Cancer Research UK’s facilitator manager for South Wales, said: “We’re very excited to be introducing the facilitators programme in south Wales.

“It is an excellent opportunity for healthcare professionals and their non-clinical staff to get extra resources and support to help them identify cancer symptoms earlier, which will make a big difference to patients.

“We know that when cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage it allows patients to have more treatment options, and ultimately, a greater chance of survival.

“GPs and other healthcare professionals in south Wales are dedicated to improving the outcome for patients with cancer.

“We will support them with extra resources and tailored education and training to help them promote cancer screening programmes – ensuring patients are referred as soon as possible for appropriate tests.

“In other parts of the UK, similar programmes have also been successful in improving communication between those working in the community and in hospitals, which is leading to some cases of cancer being diagnosed earlier.”

The South Wales Facilitator Team has already been working closely with the Screening Division of Public Health Wales (PHW) to help shape its work plan and prioritise areas of work.