Your NHS in Buckinghamshire is urging anyone who is concerned that they may have cancer symptoms not to waste time in contacting their health services.

The success in treatments and recovery speed can be dependable on cancer being identified early.

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a fall in the number of people GPs would normally refer to a cancer diagnosis. Treatment services have also seen a fall in numbers.

Recent research, by Portland Research Group, suggests too many people are avoiding using their health services. The top reasons given for this, are worries about getting coronavirus and also being a burden to the NHS.

Measures are in place at GP surgeries and hospitals to keep people as safe as possible from catching the virus. If a patient has coronavirus symptoms they are kept in a separate area. Your health services want to help you as soon as possible. This will improve the chances of effective treatment.

GPs are currently giving consultations over the phone and inviting patients in only when it is appropriate. Surgery will take place at a coronavirus-free cancer hub where necessary. In order to keep people as healthy and safe as possible during the pandemic, any decisions about referring patients will be taken carefully into consideration.

Dr Raj Thakkar, Director for Planned Care at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

We understand this is a very concerning time for people, and we are all conscious of how important it is to avoid catching coronavirus. But it is also essential that anyone who suspects they have cancer symptoms should contact us as soon as possible. We have been working extremely hard to make sure patients can safely access essential services when they need to, like a cancer diagnosis or urgent surgery. By delaying that vital call, people may be putting their lives at risk.

Andrew McLaren, Cancer Lead for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

It is really important people seek help as they always would. Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer saves lives every day, while ignoring symptoms can have very serious health consequences. We are still here to help all of our population, not only those with coronavirus. So please use your health services when you need to – making the right call now could save your life.

For more information on spotting signs of cancer, please go to nhs.uk/cancer

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