Don't wait and worry, says Macmillan GP
A Macmillan GP is urging people across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to see their GP if they are experiencing signs or symptoms that could be cancer.
Local Macmillan GP Jennie Wallace is backing Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire’s CCG Don’t Wait and Worry campaign.
The campaign was prompted by fears of serious consequences following the sharp drop in people seeking advice from their GP about symptoms that may be cancer.
Dr Wallace said: “I’d like to reassure people that your GP will always be here, no matter what happens during this pandemic.
“If you have any symptoms such as a new lump, a persistent cough or coughing up blood, blood in your stools or urine, or losing a lot of weight all of a sudden.
“Or anything that is new and concerning you, please don’t hesitate to contact your GP as soon as possible – please don’t wait and worry.
“With coronavirus constantly in the headlines, cancer is in danger of becoming the forgotten C.
“But cancer hasn’t gone away during Covid-19 and people must remain vigilant if they have symptoms.”
The call to action comes at the same time as the clinical commissioning group for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire is urging people not to ignore any worrying symptoms, and to prioritise their health and wellbeing by seeking medical help early.
Don’t Wait and Worry, which sums up the ethos of the CCG’s campaign, reinforces the messages that despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NHS is still very much open for business, and that patients will always be able to get the help the need, either over the phone, by video call or in person.
Recent data confirmed GP referrals for patients with suspected cancer during April, May and June had seen stark drops compared with the first three months of the year.
Salisbury District Hospital saw the biggest drop with referrals down 47 per cent, the Great Western Hospital in Swindon witnessed a 31 per cent reduction in referrals, and the Royal United Hospital saw its numbers fall by 35 per cent.
Of particular concern are breast, lung and bowel cancer as consequences of a late diagnosis can be more serious.
Examples of symptoms to see your GP about are:
- A new lump
- A persistent cough or coughing up blood
- Blood in your stools or urine
- Sudden weight loss
Dr Wallace added “Some of my patients have been reluctant to admit they have a cough because it’s a symptom of Covid-19. But it can also be a sign of lung cancer so it’s vital that patients are honest about their symptoms to help us help them as quickly as possible.”
More information on other signs and symptoms of cancer can be found on the Macmillan website macmillan.org.uk.
Details on the Don’t Wait and Worry campaign, including how to access a GP appointment in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire can be found at www.bswccg.nhs.uk.