New government adverts will call on members of the public to keep watch for symptoms of bowel cancer.
The East of England and the South West will welcome a trial of the Be Clear On Cancer campaign, which shows doctors helping patients how to tell them about changes in their stools, before it widens to the rest of the country.
With almost 40,000 new cases annually, bowel cancer is the UK's third most common type and 16,000 patients a year die from the disease. People can cut the risk by being active, eating well and - if advised to by a GP - taking aspirin every day.
The pilots have £1.75m funding and there is £9m set aside for 59 local campaigns on lung and breast cancer as well as bowel cancer.
If UK cancer survival rates can compete with Europe's top countries, 10,000 lives will be saved annually, the government said.
Just 6.6% of patients diagnosed with cancer of the bowel at a late stage live for five years or more, compared with 90% of those diagnosed at the earliest stage.
Health minister, Paul Burstow, said: "The Be Clear On Cancer campaign uses simple messages to make people aware of the early signs of bowel cancer and to give them the confidence to talk to their GP about them."