Ahead of World Cancer Day tomorrow (4 February) it is important to remember that cancer services remain an absolute priority for the NHS.
The aim of World Cancer Day is raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. Cancer is a challenge across the globe. In 2018, 18 million people world-wide were diagnosed with cancer. Today, thanks to research, 2 in 4 people in the UK survive their cancer for 10 years or more.
With the rapid rise in COVID-19 incidence and hospitalisation creating pressures across NHS services, staff are working to ensure that cancer diagnosis and treatment can continue safely.
Dr Neil Smith, clinical lead for cancer at Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Cancer services remain an absolute priority for the NHS. It is really important that if you have any symptoms that you are worried may be cancer, you must contact your GP immediately – you will get the tests you need, and if necessary, you will be treated. The NHS is here for you.”
Symptoms which are unexplained and won’t go away, can include:
- A lump
- A cough that has lasted over 3 weeks
- Weight loss, without trying to lose weight
- Pain that is unexplained
- Blood in your poo or urine
- A change in the shape of your breasts
- A change in bowel habit
- Extreme tiredness
Whilst a cough is a common side-effect of Covid-19, a cough that has lasted for over three weeks could be a sign of cancer.
Dr Smith said: “Cancer is most treatable when it is diagnosed early, so it is important that you contact your GP as soon as possible if you are experiencing any symptoms that are unexplained and won’t go away. These could indicate cancer. Whilst this is unlikely, it is important to discuss these with your doctor, so that anything that may require treatment can be assessed.”
For more information on cancer, go to the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/