Primary care trusts (PCTs) can bid for up to £100,000 for campaigns targeted at breast, colorectal and lung cancer.
As part of the initiative, trusts will measure their impact so the most effective campaigns can be repeated nationwide. The money will also enable PCTs to fund a wide range of initiatives including PR, advertising and outreach work, and making more public information available.
This investment follows Prime Minister Gordon Brown's pledge to ensure that all patients with cancer symptoms receive their results from diagnostic tests within one week.
Health minister Ann Keen said: 'Our aim is to save up to 10,000 lives a year through early diagnosis and intervention. These campaigns will encourage patients with symptoms to seek help earlier and build on the Prime Minister's pledge.'
The Department of Health will work in partnership with the National Cancer Action Team and Cancer Research UK to support PCTs in developing, running and evaluating their campaign.
- Watch Grayling's Vivien Hepworth discuss the £8m investment in the diagnosis of cancer at prweek.com/uk