Worried about a possible sign or symptom of cancer? Don’t delay, contact your GP today
Regional cancer care specialists are urging the public not to delay seeking medical advice if they are worried about possible symptoms of cancer.
Following a drop in the number of people being referred urgently for suspected cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Cancer Alliance has launched a regional awareness campaign to encourage people to contact their GP or nurse if they are concerned about signs or symptoms of cancer. Whether it’s a lump, a new pain, unusual bleeding or an unexplained symptom, recognising the signs and getting them checked out as soon as possible could help save lives.
It’s also important for people to attend any referral or follow up appointments, which are being delivered safely by frontline teams during the pandemic.
To find out more about the regional ‘Help Us Help You’ activity, which supports a wider national campaign, and to watch a series of films with patients and cancer care specialists from across the region, visit: https://www.northerncanceralliance.nhs.uk/helpushelpyou
Please see attached leaflet for patients and carers on Palliative care services.
EARLY CANCER DIAGNOSIS SAVES LIVES
Cancer screening services
There are three types of cancer screening for adults in England, and they save thousands of lives each year.
Cervical screening is offered to women aged 25 to 64 to check the health of cells in the cervix. It is offered every three years between the ages of 26 and 49, and every five years between the ages of 50 and 64.
Most women's test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test will show some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.
As you doctor, I would strongly encourage you to consider taking part in the screening programme. I know some women may be embarrassed or worried that the procedure might be painful. I can reassure you that you will be treated with utmost dignity and our practice nurses are highly trained to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. I also understand that for some women getting to the doctors can be difficult, so we now offer a wide range of appointments at various times of the day, including early evenings and weekends. If you are already signed up for Patient Access with us, you can also book your smear appointment via this online service. Please contact the Surgery for more details on how to sign up for Patient Access.
Here are some of the issues that you might like to think about:
- Cervical screening reduces the risk of cervical cancer
- Cervical cancer rates have halved since the 1980’s, largely due to most women having regular screening.
- About 1 in 20 tests do not have a clear outcome, and the test has to be done again.
- Research suggests that cervical screening saves up to 4,500 lives in England each year.
- Regular screening can prevent around 75% of cervical cancers, but does not prevent every case.
- Some tests discover a minor abnormality which might have cleared up on its own, and it is not clear which minor abnormalities will develop into cancer.
Smoking makes it harder to fight off the infection that causes cervical cancer, so if you are a smoker, stopping will reduce your risk. The nurse can advise you further on giving up smoking.
Please take the time to look at the Practice Leaflet below explaining the procedure or alternatively our Practice Nurse would be more than happy to answer any queries you may have.
Or you can find out more information on smear tests here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/
Patient Cervical screening leaflet
First cervical screening information leaflet
Do I still need to attend my cervical screening when I am invited if I've already had the HPV vaccine?
Yes. It is very important that you still attend regular screening even if you have been vaccinated so that abnormalities caused by HPV types other than those in the vaccine may be detected. Screening can also help to identify small cell cervical cancer, which the HPV vaccine will not fully protect against
Breast cancer screening
Breast cancer screening is offered to women aged 50 to 70 to detect early signs of breast cancer. Women aged 70 and over can self-refer.
Breast cancer screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel. There's a good chance of recovery if the cancer is detected in its early stages.
Watch a video about breast cancer screening
Bowel cancer screening
Bowel cancer screening is offered to men and women aged 60 to 74 every 2 years. Those aged 75 or over can request screening by calling 0800 7076060.
People aged 55 are invited for a one off bowel scope screening test. Scope screening uses a thin flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end to look at the large bowel.
Check out the video links at the bottom of the page for more detailed information.
As your doctor, we would strongly advise and encourage our patients to take part in the screening programme because:
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the U.K.
Screening can reduce your chances in dying from bowel cancer by detecting it early.
Bowel cancer screening may save your live.
Our Practice Nurse Hayley was a nurse specialist for the bowel screening programme and would be happy to discuss the screening programme, investigations or any concerns you may have. If so please request a telephone appointment with Hayley to discuss.
If you have changed your mind and would like to take part in the screening programme please call: Freephone: 0800 707 60 60
- Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the U.K. Taking part in bowel cancer screening reduces your chances of dying from bowel cancer.
- Bowel cancer screening is really important as it can save lives. The screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage, even before there are any signs or symptoms; 90% of bowel cancers caught early are treated successfully.
- Bowel screening can also detect polyps (lumps) that may develop into cancer over time. Removing polyps during a colonoscopy (a simple procedure involving insertion of a tube into the bowel) can reduce your chances of developing bowel cancer in the future.
- 98% of people who complete the kit will have a normal result
- You will receive all the information you need, including the risks and limitations of bowel screening, and how the process works, when the kit is sent out to you. Please read the information carefully, and contact the screening programme if you have any concerns.
You can also take steps to reduce your risk of bowel cancer by:
- Reducing red meat
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a diet high in foods such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, jacket potatoes with the skin on, dried fruit and bran based cereal.
- Drinking no more than recommended units of alcohol
- Not smoking
- Keeping active
Check out this short informative video on how to do the FIT cancer screening test:
What is bowel scope screening video: