This Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November 2020).
People in Lancashire and South Cumbria are being urged to contact their GP if they have any signs or symptoms of lung cancer.
The NHS is committed to providing essential cancer services during the covid-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the outbreak, there was a sharp drop in the number of patients referred for investigations and appointments for suspected cancer. This has improved for most types of cancer, as more people are talking to their GPs about their concerns.
However, for lung cancer currently locally, less than 7 in 10 of the expected numbers of patients are contacting their GPs and being referred to hospital. Some patients are being diagnosed in A&E when they are unwell with advanced disease. If this continues more people will be diagnosed later, resulting in a lower chance of survival. Finding and treating lung cancer at an early stage can save lives.
Urgent care and treatment is still available to help Lancashire and South Cumbria residents, don’t risk your long-term health by delaying getting the help you need. NHS services are following strict social distancing and hygiene measures to allow people to access care safely. Hospitals are safe and are continuing to provide care for non-covid patients. GPs, pharmacies, NHS 111 and hospitals in the area are still open for those who need them.
Dr Neil Smith, local GP and Primary Care Director for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance, said:
“It is a difficult time for patients and GPs to assess and deal with respiratory symptoms. The national message is if you have a cough, stay at home and isolate yourself. However not all coughing or breathing difficulty is caused by covid-19. If someone has a cough or breathlessness that has gone on for three weeks, there is a risk of lung cancer. This is especially so for someone with who is a smoker or has symptoms like coughing blood or losing weight.”
Cancer assessment and treatments are still happening. New innovations such as video consultation, reviewing photographs of skin lesions and arranging urgent tests