The local NHS is asking people to come forward for screening when invited and to speak to their GP if they notice any unusual changes in their body without delay.
Since the start of the pandemic the number of people taking up screening appointments and attending their referral appointments has markedly dropped.
Staff at West Middlesex Hospital who work in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer are supporting the campaign on posters, videos and social media. They are keen to reassure the public that it is safe to attend appointments at the hospital, and to point out the importance of prompt diagnosis.
Dr Abhijit Singh Gill, Hammersmith and Fulham GP and Cancer Lead for NHS NW London Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Coronavirus has of course been a huge health concern for everyone this past year, and we have noticed that people are less likely to present to their GP with health concerns. When it comes to cancer, it is important that people come to us early, so every effort is made to help them as quickly as possible”.
“GPs are very busy but we are not too busy for our patients. If you have noticed something about your body that’s not normal for you, or are worried about any symptoms, please speak to your GP. Please also take up that screening invitation when it comes through the post. Cancer isn’t on lockdown, cancer won’t wait.”
Dr Iain Beveridge, Hospital Medical Director at West Mid hospital, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Unfortunately we’re seeing some people coming to A&E with symptoms of cancer at a point when their symptoms have developed and they are really worried about their symptoms or in a lot of pain.
“Unfortunately, this may be when the cancer is more advanced or more serious. That’s why early diagnosis and getting checked out is so important. Coming forward straight away could help save your life.”
1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. Signs and symptoms that could be a sign of cancer include unexplained blood that doesn’t come from an obvious injury (such as blood in your poo or pee), an unexplained lump, weight loss which feels significant to you or an unexplained pain that lasts three weeks or more, it could be It’s probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable, so just speak to your GP. Your NHS is here to see you, safely.
Dr Baldeep Syan is a GP who also works in a regular diagnostic clinic in NW London explains why it’s such an important message. “This year has been hugely challenging for everyone including the NHS and people want to avoid being a burden or are fearful about seeking medical advice.
So whether you or a loved one has a routine appointment, or a potential cancer symptom, our message is clear – you are not a burden, we are here to safely care for you so please don’t delay, come forward as you usually would. Cancer won’t wait and we can see you safely”.
NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to keep cancer services going throughout the pandemic, with almost one million people referred for checks or starting treatment since the virus took hold.
Visit www.nwlccgs.nhs.uk for more information.