Healthy London > Resources > Mapping cancer screening initiatives in London

Mapping cancer screening initiatives in London

Cancer screening aims to reduce the numbers of deaths from breast, cervical and bowel cancer by:

  • finding pre-cancerous signs of cervical and bowel cancer and treating these
  • identifying and treating early signs of breast, cervical and bowel cancer, leading to a greater chance of survival and less aggressive treatments

Cancer screening coverage is generally lower in London than the national average, with wide variation between and within CCGs.  There is evidence that some interventions can have a significant impact on improving participation in screening, overcoming some of the barriers and inequalities experienced by different groups*.

The London Cancer Screening Improvement board was set up in June 2018 by NHSE (London) and the Transforming Cancer Services Team for London. Its aim is “to save more lives and reduce health inequalities through delivery of comprehensive and accessible cancer screening services, and for all Londoners to be informed about and able to access high quality screening services.”

A key task of the board is “to assess progress against, and encourage evidence-based interventions to increase bowel, breast and cervical screening uptake across the region.”

The cancer screening mapping tool

In order to do this in 2018 we sought information from a wide range of stakeholders across London and West Essex about local initiatives to increase cancer screening participation.

Using the information received, we categorised initiatives for each of the screening programmes as ‘evidence-based’ (likely to increase screening participation) or as an ‘enabler’ (providing resources to support evidence-based interventions, but not shown on their own to have a significant impact on increasing screening rates1). 

The information is presented here as locally delivered initiatives, mapped against coverage rates for each screening programme at March 2018. 

The purpose of this tool is to share the range of initiatives (and ultimately outcomes) with stakeholders, so that delivery can be optimised with resources targeted where they are most needed in order to increase overall coverage and to reduce inequalities between different populations.


There are limitations to the data presented in the mapping tool

  • Information is based on stakeholder feedback, and in some cases this may be incomplete or have changed since responses were received
  • Interventions started at different times in different CCGs; in some cases they were well established at the time of the response (autumn 2018), elsewhere they had not yet started. It may therefore be too early to use this information to assess effectiveness.
  • In addition we identified a number of interventions common to all or most CCG areas; these include:
InterventionGeography Type
GP endorsed invitations for bowel screeningLondonEvidence
Enhanced reminder for bowel screeningLondonEvidence
Clinical leads for cancer and Macmillan GPsLondon and West EssexEnabler
CRUK primary care cancer facilitatorsLondon and West EssexEnabler
Practice visits and training for primary care teamsLondon and West EssexEnabler
Quarterly CCG and practice level screening dataLondon and West EssexEnabler
Good Practice Cancer Screening Guide for Primary CareLondon and West EssexEnabler
Be Clear on Cancer campaign endorsementLondon and West EssexEnabler

Duffy SW, Myles JP, Maroni R, Mohammad A  October 2016  A Rapid review of evaluation of interventions to improve participation in cancer screening services 

If you have any questions relating to this work, or would like to provide feedback to the TCST team, please email