08 Apr 2020
Dr Paul Rose, GP lead for cancer services in St Helens, urges people with health concerns to not put off making a GP appointment during the coronavirus crisis.
Dr Paul Rose, GP lead for cancer services in St Helens, is urging people not to ignore any unexplained changes to their body including the appearance of a lump, blood in the urine or a change to usual bowel habits which could indicate the presence of cancer, and put off making an appointment with their doctor during the Covid-19 crisis.
‘Suspicious of cancer’ referrals (known as two week waits where patients are referred to a hospital specialist for further tests within a two week timescale) are down by nearly half at the moment which is a sign that patients with any potential health concerns are staying away for fear of contracting coronavirus.
Dr Rose said: “My referrals for two week waits suspected cancer cases have almost halved over the last month as patients are not coming with these symptoms.
“I really want to stress that if you find a suspicious lump, blood in your urine or notice a change in bowel movement that you don’t put off seeing your GP. These symptoms can often be caused by other illnesses but it is important to make sure you telephone your surgery for an appointment so we can investigate further.
“With cancer, early detection is vital to long term outcomes and if people wait a long time before seeing their doctor, this can sometimes enable a cancer to spread making it harder to treat. We also want to avoid a bottleneck of urgent appointments and referrals when the Covid-19 has passed which will make it harder for ourselves and hospital doctors to see and treat people in a timely manner.”
GP surgeries remain open in St Helens with patients asked to telephone their surgery if they wish to make an appointment with their doctor. Surgeries have processes in place to ensure they can continue to treat their patients safely in the community and are also using technology including online and video GP consultations so patients don’t need to visit the surgery in person.
For more information on possible symptoms of cancer and what to do, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/