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People in Cornwall urged not to delay cancer checks or treatment

People in Cornwall urged not to delay cancer checks or treatment

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 9:36am 29th April 2020.

Medical experts in the south west are urging people in places like Cornwall to seek help for cancer checks and treatment.

It follows a warning that almost 18,000 more people could die from cancer over the next year in England because of Covid-19. 

New data shows people are not accessing health services which is resulting in delays in diagnosis and treatment.

The study from University College London (UCL) and DATA-CAN, the Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, examined real-time weekly hospital data for urgent cancer referrals and chemotherapy attendances during the epidemic.

It found that the majority of patients with cancer or suspected cancer are not accessing health services.

“It’s important that people living in the South West do not delay seeking help for cancer checks and treatment as this could result in poorer outcomes for their health further down the road.  

“If you are a cancer patient and worried about any symptoms, please speak to your GP or cancer specialist as they are here to help you.

“While patients have rightly responded to the expert advice on staying at home, they should still seek medical help when they need it." 

Dr Michael Marsh, South West Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement

doctor health

England’s top cancer doctor has urged people not to hesitate to get checked as new research revealed that nearly half of the public have concerns about seeking help during the coronavirus pandemic. 

One in 10 people would not contact their GP even if they had a lump or a new mole which did not go away after a week, the survey found. 

Another third of people would worry about seeking help, according to polling carried out by Portland. 

Getting coronavirus or giving it to their family were among the top reasons that people would not come forward when they have cancer symptoms along with fears that they could be a burden to the health service. 

Professor Peter Johnson, the NHS clinical director for cancer, stressed that NHS staff had worked hard to make sure people can get cancer checks and treatment safely so there is no need to delay. 

Waiting to get help could have serious consequences for patients and put a greater burden on the NHS, Prof Johnson said. 

Online consultations mean people do not necessarily need to go to GP surgeries for check-ups while COVID-free cancer hubs have been set up to provide surgery along with independent sector hospitals who have signed an unprecedented deal with the NHS.  

“NHS staff have made huge efforts to deal with coronavirus but they are also working hard to ensure that patients can safely access essential services such as cancer checks and urgent surgery. 

“From online consultations to the roll-out of cancer treatment hubs we are doing all we can to make sure patients receive the life-saving care that they need. 

“The wishes of patients and their families will always come first, and we have to make sure that people feel safe coming to hospitals, but my message is clear: people should seek help as they always would. 

“We know that finding cancer early gives us the best chance to cure it, and ignoring potential problems can have serious consequences now or in the future.” 

Professor Peter Johnson, NHS national clinical director for cancer

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