Cancer Early Diagnosis: Call to Action, Emphasis on Lung Cancer

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Cancer Early Diagnosis: Call to Action, Emphasis on Lung Cancer

Early cancer diagnosis remains important, even during the Covid-19 outbreak, and it saves lives.

As you may already be aware, locally and nationally there has been a significant drop in cancer referrals, as fewer people consult their GP. These referrals have slowly been picking up as more people start contacting their GP practices, but there are still worrying numbers of late cancers being picked up in A&E and lung cancer patients feature highly in this group.

It is really important to continue the message that we are open for business and encourage patients to seek help for concerning or persistent symptoms. The suspected cancer referral pathways are OPEN and running. Cancer departments in local hospitals have capacity to investigate and manage cancer referrals. Solutions such as specialised surgical hubs are being used to ensure patients receive safe and timely operations for cancer.

For lung cancer detection, it has been a particularly challenging time for patients and GPs to assess and deal with respiratory symptoms.

While nationally the message has been to stay at home and self isolate if you have a cough, 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 or more, lung cancer should be considered, especially if they are a smoker/ex-smoker with other systemic symptoms. GPs are able to arrange chest X-rays at their local departments for these patients.

Please investigate if you are worried.

For further information or queries relating to cancer services, e-mail uclh.nclcanceralliance@nhs.net

Please note: a previous version of this article published on 3 June gave an incorrect contact.

Expiry date: Jun 9th, 2021