Health leaders are encouraging people to continue to seek help during the pandemic if they are concerned about the signs of cancer.
Today is World Cancer Day, an international event marked every 4 February to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. The day aims to spread awareness and understanding of the many forms of cancer and the impact that this has on all of us.
Anyone who has worrying symptoms such as a new lump, a sudden change in weight or persistent cough is encouraged to see their GP and this year sees a particular emphasis on making sure that people are not deterred from seeking help by worries about catching Covid-19 at consultations or outpatient appointments.
GPs and hospital staff have worked hard to maintain vital cancer care during the pandemic with comprehensive social distancing measures in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff. In many cases, initial consultations are held online, meaning people can seek advice from the comfort and safety of their home.
GP and Clinical Lead for Cancer and Specialised Commissioning at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG Dr Alison Wint said it’s important that people continue to make appointments with their GP for worrying symptoms during the current lockdown. She said in some cases it can be easy to confuse the signs of respiratory cancer with that of Covid-19.
It’s really important that anyone who has developed worrying symptoms which they think may be cancer, such as a new lump, unexplained weight loss or blood in pee or poo, contacts their GP for advice. If you have a persistent cough, it’s important to do a Covid-19 test and if doesn’t go after three weeks get it investigated as it may be a sign of something else. There is good chance that it won’t be anything to worry about but if there is anything that requires further investigation it’s important to act quickly.
Dr Wint reassured people that if treatment for cancer is needed, appointments are safe to attend.
We have worked hard to maintain cancer services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have continued to receive the care they need despite the challenges we are facing. Understandably, some people have been very worried about going to their GP and into hospital during the pandemic, especially when they have already have compromised immune systems due to cancer treatment. All of our health settings have followed the highest infection control measures to ensure it has been safe for people to attend their cancer appointments.