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Thousands with cancer could be going unchecked – as numbers starting treatment post-lockdown soar

Written by on 14/08/2021

Thousands of people with cancer could still be going unchecked due to COVID after numbers starting treatment post-lockdown soared, the NHS has warned.

More than 27,000 people in England started treatment for cancer in June – a 42% increase on the same time last year.

Around 250,000 were checked for the disease that month, according to the NHS.

Health service officials are concerned people are still not coming forward with cancer-like symptoms because of coronavirus.

New NHS chief executive Amanda Prichard has said hospitals are “open and ready” to treat people with cancer.

She is launching a new TV and advert campaign on Monday that will raise awareness of common symptoms of abdominal, urological and lung cancers.

The Help Us, Help You campaign comes after research showed 60% of people are still concerned about burdening the NHS further during COVID and almost 49% say they would delay seeking treatment.

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And despite abdominal and urological cancers making up 44% of all cancer diagnoses nationwide, almost two thirds (63%) of people polled said they did not know what the common warning signs are.

Two in five people also admitted not knowing that a persistent cough lasting more than three weeks could be a symptom of lung cancer.

NHS England also said long-term coughing is now being confused with coronavirus.

Ms Pritchard said: “It’s incredibly important that people recognise the common symptoms that can signal a cancer diagnosis – and it’s vital that they take action by making an appointment with their GP, that could ultimately save their life.”

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, added: “If you’ve noticed an unusual change in your health, don’t be tempted to put it down to getting older or to a pre-existing condition – contact your GP.

“If you have trouble getting through to the practice at first, do keep trying.”

 Sky News

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