Scottish Government
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Wear your checks in support of early cancer detection

People encouraged to #GetChecked with potential signs or symptoms.

#GetChecked - a new campaign to encourage people to get checked for potential symptoms of cancer in a bid to save more lives in Scotland launched today (24 August 2015).

The Scottish Government has joined forces with Cancer Research UK to call on people in Scotland to wear checked patterns in support of finding cancer early as part of the drive to turn the Big C into the wee c.

The campaign aims to make check patterns synonymous with early detection, so that every time someone sees a check they think about getting checked, attend screening when invited, or encourage a loved one to do the same.

Today, X Factor and The Voice coach Yvie Burnett and Lindsay Blake from Burntisland, Fife who survived breast cancer after early detection, are kick starting the campaign with M&Co, who are being unveiled as its first #GetChecked partner.

Both women are supporting #GetChecked by joining staff at M&Co’s flagship store in The Gyle Shopping Centre, Edinburgh as they feel strongly about raising awareness of the importance of early detection to help save more lives in Scotland.

#GetChecked will be promoted in M&Co’s network of 62 stores across Scotland over the next two weeks to help spread the message. Their windows will also be dressed in colourful checks and staff will be handing out leaflets and stickers to promote the importance of early detection to customers.

Members of the public will also be encouraged to take a ‘check selfie’ showing an item of check as a visual prompt for making people think about getting checked, either themselves or nudging a friend or relative.

Statistics show that the likelihood of surviving breast cancer is five times higher if detected at an early stage compared to a late stage, 14 times higher for bowel cancer and 20 times higher for lung cancer.

Around 1,000 deaths could be avoided each year if Scottish cancer survival matched the best in Europe and early detection is key. 

Yvie Burnett said: “I lost my wonderful Dad in 1992 when I was in my twenties, which was far too soon. When I had children he wasn't around to see them and there are so many things I have done in my life which I would have loved to share with him.

“That’s why I’m passionate about what #GetChecked aims to do. I’m proudly wearing my checks today, and I hope others across the country will as well – the more we can encourage people to present early, the more lives that will be saved. It’s as simple as that.”

Mum of two Lindsay Blake, 42, said: “I was on holiday in Turkey when I first spotted a small indentation in my right breast that I’d never seen before. As soon as I got home I went to my GP to get it checked out and was referred to hospital for a mammogram, ultrasound and a biopsy.

"It was a shock when I was told I had cancer but my husband, kids, family and friends were all amazing from start to finish. Their support kept me feeling positive, even through the tough days. Now two and a half years on I’m well, back at work and starting to feel more like me again.

“I lost my own mum to lung cancer in 2009 and it broke my heart to watch her fade away. I don’t want that to happen to any other family. That’s why I’m determined to do everything I can to raise awareness that if cancer is caught early it can be very treatable. It’s so important women and men of all ages get to know their body by looking and checking themselves regularly then if they find any unusual changes or feel unwell go to see the GP.”

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, said:

“We know more about cancer today than ever before, and thanks to early detection, research breakthroughs and treatment advances, half of men and women now survive cancer in Scotland. But early detection is key to further boosting survival rates.

“#GetChecked is part of the wee c initiative, which aims to bring cancer down to size in Scotland. Early detection is one way we can all help turn the Big C into the wee c and we’re calling on the people of Scotland to show their support by wearing their checks.

“Having the support of M&Co, Cancer Research UK’s charity partner, who will be displaying checks throughout their 60 stores will help create the association between checks and ‘getting checked’ and lead to early detection. We want to empower people to visit their GP or attend a screening appointment, as well as encouraging their loved ones to do the same.”

John Hodgson, Central Operations Manager at M&Co, said:

“We’re delighted to be kick starting such a vital campaign in association with our charity partner Cancer Research UK. Through our network of 62 stores in towns and cities across Scotland, 750 employees and large number of customers we’re committed to helping reach as many people as possible with the early detection message.

“Most people have been or will be affected by cancer at some point in their lives. If we can play a part in encouraging people to get checked earlier with signs or symptoms so more lives can be saved, we’ll be extremely proud.”

Gregor McNie, Cancer Research UK’s senior policy manager, said:

“More people than ever are living beyond a cancer diagnosis and, over the last 40 years, survival in the UK has doubled. Today half of all those told they have cancer will survive the disease for at least​ ten years.

“We know that early detection saves lives but to help make that happen it’s important that people with unusual or persistent changes to their body go and #GetChecked. It probably won’t be cancer, but if it is, diagnosing and treating it at an early stage, means treatment is more likely to be effective .”

For more information on #GetChecked and the wee c visit:

Notes To Editors

Cancer survival statistics are taken from the following sources:

In Scotland, around 1,000 deaths could be avoided each year if cancer survival matched the best in Europe.Source: Eurocare study (based on the fact that 10,000 would survive in Britain as a whole)

Women are five times more likely to survive breast cancer for at least five years when it’s detected at an early stage, compared to a late stage. Source: Scottish Cancer Registry, ISD. Data extracted: May 2015. Women diagnosed between 2005-2009. 91.5% survival for those diagnosed at Stage 1, compared to 19.1% at Stage 4.

For colorectal cancer, people are 14 times more likely to survive for at least five years when it is detected at an early stage, compared to a late stage. Source: Scottish Cancer Registry, ISD. Data extracted: May 2015. Men and women diagnosed between 2005-2009. 80.6% survival for those diagnosed at Stage 1, compared to 5.9% at Stage 4.

People in Scotland are almost 20 times more likely to survive lung cancer if it’s diagnosed at an early stage, compared to a late stage. Source: The five year survival rate for those diagnosed at an early stage (1 and 2) is almost 20 times higher than for those diagnosed at a late stage (4). Reference: Scottish Cancer Registry, ISD, extracted September 2014, based on patients diagnosed in 2005-2007.


#GetChecked aims to encourage more people to present earlier with potential signs or symptoms of the disease to increase the number of cancers that are detected at the earliest stage. It forms part of the Scottish Government’s £39 million Detect Cancer Early programme and the wee c initiative.

The wee c

The wee c initiative focusses on reducing fear around cancer in Scotland. For too long people have referred to cancer as ‘The Big C’ feeding a fatalistic view of the disease, and research has shown this often results in people delaying visiting their GP with potential symptoms or attending screening.

The wee c, in partnership with Cancer Research, aims to tackle this by telling the other side of the story – that more people are surviving cancer in Scotland than ever before. Survival rates are increasing thanks to earlier detection and positive advancements in research and treatments. To find out more about the wee c visit



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