Cancer prevention awareness services make a life-changing impact

Cancer prevention awareness services make a life-changing impact image
Peter McKee

A GRAHAM BAM Healthcare Partnership (GBHP) construction worker, who discovered precancerous cells in his throat, has encouraged his male colleagues to be “better safe than sorry” and seek expert medical opinion if they develop any potential signs of cancer.

Peter McKee, who is part of the GBHP team responsible for the construction of the Ulster Hospital’s new £95m Acute Services Block, had the precancerous cells removed and is thankfully now fit and well.

The 54-year-old praised the ongoing partnership between GRAHAM and the charity, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, for signposting him to cancer prevention awareness services including the Man Van – a mobile drop-in unit offering healthcare checks and information on early symptoms of cancer.

“There are hundreds of men who work here on the construction site at the Ulster Hospital, so we often have nurses up from Cancer Focus Northern Ireland to do health checks on the men, help smokers to quit or give out leaflets on what signs to look out for,” said Peter.

“I’d been a weekend smoker for about 15 years and when I developed a hoarse throat and a bit of a cough I decided to go and get it checked out.

“Because I’ve read lots of information about different types of cancers, given to us by Cancer Focus Northern Ireland teams, I knew it was better to get the throat checked.”


Following an initial examination by his own GP, Peter was referred to the Lagan Valley Hospital where an endoscopy was conducted. A number of lumps were discovered on Peter’s voice-box and were subsequently removed. A biopsy revealed that they were precancerous.

“I was lucky to see the doctor before it turned into something sinister. My throat hadn’t been sore or anything like that but I’d been hoarse for a few weeks and knew something wasn’t right,” added Peter.

“I’m fairly aware now about the signs and symptoms of cancer and what to look out for, so I didn’t leave it long before going to the doctor. It is better to be safe than sorry and get these things checked out and thanks to Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, I knew what to do.”

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is a local cancer charity ‘working since 1969 to reduce the impact of cancer on people’s lives’.

GRAHAM and Health and Wellbeing

GRAHAM is committed to improving the Health and Wellbeing of its pool of 2,200+ employees spread throughout the UK and Ireland.

As an Investors in People Health and Wellbeing accredited organisation, GRAHAM has engaged a leading team of wellbeing specialists to train managers and provide a wellbeing diagnostic tool, a personal plan and coaching for all employees.

A series of group wide and regional Health and Wellbeing activities and events take place annually with staff enjoying activities such as ‘Around the World in 80 Days Step Challenge’, marathon sponsorship and regional cycle teams.

Programmes are developed for physical health, including weight management, BUPA checks to all employees over 40, annual checks for staff in critical roles, voluntary mini health checks for all staff, smoking cessation and subsidised gym membership.

Whenever possible, GRAHAM also leverages off national campaigns such as Prostrate and Breast Cancer, Healthy Heart, Suicide Prevention week and partners with national charities to provide employees with information and support.

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland

Every year around 6,000 men in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with cancer – a statistic charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is trying to reduce. For more information visit: