Current Edition

National cancer director urges public to get symptoms checked during pandemic

As of this morning – Wednesday April 29 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 161,145 with 21,678 deaths.

England’s national clinical director for cancer is urging people not to hesitate in getting potential cancer symptoms checked after new research revealed that nearly half of the public are worried about seeking help during the coronavirus pandemic.

One in 10 people said they would not contact their GP even if they had a lump or a new mole which did not go away after a week, while another third said they would worry about seeking help, according to polling carried out by Portland.

Contracting coronavirus or passing it on to family members were among the top reasons cited for not seeking help for cancer symptoms, but there were also fears over burdening the health service.

Professor Peter Johnson, the NHS clinical director for cancer, stressed that waiting to get help could have serious consequences for patients and put a greater burden on the NHS.

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,” he said.

“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.”

Prof Johnson’s call follows sharp drop in cancer referrals as patients are not contacting their GP for health advice.