LETTER TO EDITOR
I am writing to you to remind your readers how important it is to contact their GP if they have concerning symptoms that could be cancer during the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has meant far fewer people in London have come forward with symptoms that could be cancer. In June during the first lockdown, 31 per cent (around 10,000) fewer people than expected saw a specialist for suspected cancer after an urgent GP referral.
Additionally, according to recent figures, 4,500 fewer people in London started cancer treatment since the start of the pandemic compared to the same period in 2019.
Now, during the second lockdown we are urging Londoners to get in touch with their GP immediately if they experience common symptoms of cancer.
These can include changes to their body, unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite, lumps or bleeding, coughs or new, unexplained pain anywhere in your body which doesn’t go away after three weeks. Surgeries are now offering appointments over the phone or virtually, which can be easily and securely accessed, and will still be seen face to face where required.
Cancer is often easier to treat the earlier it is diagnosed so GPs still want to hear from anyone with worrying symptoms. Please contact your surgery if you have concerns.
I also want to ask people who have cancer appointments, including tests and check-ups, to still attend. NHS staff have worked hard to make sure cancer treatment can still be given as safely as possible so we are also encouraging people to attend these appointments too.
For information, support or just a chat, call Macmillan free on 0808 808 0000 or visit macmillan.org.uk.
Dr Anthony Cunliffe, Macmillan GP Advisor for London
London Regional Communications Officer
020 7840 4804
89 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7UQ
Macmillan Cancer Support