As a practice, we are aware that during the Coronavirus pandemic, fewer patients are presenting to us with symptoms that may suggest a diagnosis of cancer. This is clearly very concerning for us, as early diagnosis and treatment of cancer is crucial. We understand that you may feel worried about ‘bothering us’ or having to go to the surgery or hospital and potentially being exposed to coronavirus.
However, please be assured we still want to hear from you, we are available, and there is plenty of work we can do by telephone. There are tests and referrals that can be arranged safely. And we can still refer all patients with suspected cancer for urgent review within a 2 week time frame.
Here is a list of some of the common ‘red flag’ symptoms that could indicate cancer. This is by no means exhaustive and if you have a feeling that something ‘just isn’t right’, we would definitely like to hear from you.
• A persistent cough or hoarseness
• A new lump anywhere e.g. in the breast, testicle or neck
• Unexplained bleeding e.g. in the bowel motions, urine or vaginal
• Difficulty swallowing or persistent indigestion symptoms
• A persistent change in your bowels or bloating
• A new mole or a mole that changes
• Unexplained weight loss or sweats at night
• Unexplained pain e.g. in your tummy or back or headaches
• A sore on the skin or in the mouth that does not heal
Further information about symptoms and what to do, can be found here and here
Please note that our cervical screening program is still running, so please phone and book your smear test if it is due, or ask to speak to a practice nurse if you are unsure how to proceed. There is lots of useful information here.
The bowel cancer screening program has recently re-started. This is a simple test that you can do at home, so we would strongly encourage you to take part and return your samples. Further information can be found here and the free bowel cancer screening helpline number is 0800 707 6060. Please contact your GP promptly if you think you have symptoms of bowel cancer.