The Island’s NHS Trust has seen a 25% drop in referrals to cancer services and are urging the public to get in touch with their GP if they have any symptoms which they are concerned about.
Both dermatology (skin) and urology cancer services are seeing considerably fewer referrals this year compared to the same time 12 months ago. Treatment is often more effective when cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, so it is important that those with concerning symptoms are identified as soon as possible.
The Trust wants everyone to continue to access health services, now and throughout the winter, and be reassured that all the relevant safety and infection control measures are in place to keep people safe.
Anne Snow, consultant nurse and lead clinician for cancer services, said: “We have seen a worrying drop in the number of people being referred to us for cancer diagnosis and treatment. If you have symptoms that are worrying you, it is vital that you get it touch with your GP practice straight away; don’t put it off because it is crucial that we identify potential cancers as soon as possible.
“We understand people may be worried about attending appointments given the current pandemic or feel they may be a burden to the services, but please be assured that you are not and we have lots of measures in place to keep our patients safe.
“Please don’t be afraid to ask for help and, if you are worried, please do talk about your concerns with family members or friends.”
The public should take particular notice of persistent and unexplained symptoms such as:
· A changes in bowel habits
· Blood in pee, blood in your poo or coughing up blood
· Unexplained pain
· Lumps, bumps or swelling
· Bloating for 3 weeks or more
· Extreme tiredness
· Unexplained weight loss
· A cough, lasting over 3 weeks, chest pain or breathlessness
· Moles that have changed shape, colour, grows or starts itching, flaking or bleeding
Dr David Isaac, Macmillan GP, said: “It’s important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body and to speak to your GP so they can investigate and refer you to a specialist if needed. Finding cancer early means it’s easier to treat.
“I urge the public not to be afraid of contacting their GP practices; we are here and we want to help”