Hi, I’m Dr Dan Seddon, a public health doctor working in Merseyside and Cheshire. I work to prevent cancer, and to get it diagnosed earlier. This is because when we diagnose cancer early, it is easier to treat and often the person with the cancer has a better outcome.
I have other parts to my work, such as commissioning and quality control of screening programmes; not just cancer screening programmes, but all of the NHS screening programmes in my local area, which is Halton and St Helens. I am also the Head of the North West School of Public Health, which is a work based five year training programme for public health experts and leaders, we have 50 people training in the School from Cumbria to Cheshire.
I grew up in Barrow in Furness (when it was in Lancashire!), and my very first job was as a stage hand for a travelling pantomime theatre show. Next was as a janitor, then a nursing assistant, which helped my interest in medicine. I was a medical student in Manchester, junior doctor in Crewe, and GP in Cheshire before studying public health at Liverpool University.
We can all make a difference to help catch cancer earlier, or even prevent it altogether. We need to know the basics and, most importantly, not be afraid to get ourselves checked out by our GP if we notice anything different about our bodies. Sometimes we need to make sensible choices like reducing how much alcohol we drink, using sun cream or avoiding sun beds, and of course, taking advantage of the three NHS cancer screening programmes.
One of the biggest highlights of my career has been seeing the ban on smoking in public places introduced in England. As Director of Public Health in Halton I remember asking our MP to make sure he voted for it in parliament!
In my free time, I’m a big fan of kayaking. I enjoy it but I’m not very good at it, so I often go for a swim. My alternative career would be as a countryside ranger.
For me, Action on Cancer is a great way to share some life saving facts. I’ve been working in the field for a number of years and it’s clear to see that the earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of survival. It sounds simple, but I urge anyone worrying about cancer to get checked out.