PEOPLE across Coventry and Warwickshire who suspect they may have cancer symptoms are being told to seek help despite the ongoing coronavirus situation.
Health bosses are stressing the importance of having worrying signs checked out as soon as possible.
Latest figures for England show there has been a sharp drop in cancer referrals as patients are not contacting their GP for advice.
Referrals from GPs were down by 66 per cent in the week ending 19th April, compared with the week ending 1st March.
Research has found around a third of people would be worried about seeking out medical opinion on their symptoms.
Getting coronavirus or giving it to their family were among the top reasons people would not come forward when they have cancer symptoms, along with fears they could be a burden to the health service.
‘Help Us Help You’ – a major public information campaign – has now been launched to encourage people to contact their GP if they are experiencing the signs of cancer.
Prof Kiran Patel, clinical lead for the Coventry and Warwickshire Health and Care Partnership – which includes the South Warwickshire Foundation Trust – said: “Whilst we have been working tirelessly to tackle the impact of Covid-19, the delivery of cancer services has remained a high priority.
“Our cancer teams have worked extremely hard to ensure all essential and urgent cancer diagnosis, treatment and care safely continues during the pandemic.”
Nigel Sturrock, medical director at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “NHS staff have made huge efforts to deal with coronavirus but they are also working hard to ensure that patients can safely access essential services such as cancer checks and urgent surgery.
“From online consultations to the roll-out of cancer treatment hubs, we are doing all we can to make sure patients receive the life-saving care that they need.
“The earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the more likely it is treatment will be successful and the higher the chance of survival. So even in these stressful times it’s vital people don’t delay seeking help with cancer symptoms.”