Watch our chief executive, Paula Chadwick, on BBC Midlands evening news. It is stories like John and the thousands of others like him that shows why our Still Here campaign is so vital.
John went to his doctors after he coughed up blood in April. After a series of tests, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was early enough to operate but six months later, John still hasn’t had surgery and has now faced a further three week delay.
We are appalled by his story. Whilst we recognise and truly appreciate the efforts of the NHS, the needs of lung cancer patients cannot and must not be secondary to those with Covid. Here we have a man diagnosed early enough for curative-intent treatment – something that doesn’t happen nearly enough – and he is now having to endure severe delays in getting life saving treatment. This could not only have an serious impact on his physical health, it will also be causing him a great deal of anxiety and worry.
Lung cancer is an aggressive disease and time is of the essence. These delays could ultimately be the difference between curative treatment or palliative care. They could be the difference between John surviving or John dying.
Covid is here for the foreseeable future so the NHS must find a way to help everyone that needs it. Its message has mirrored ours; it has run its own campaign stating the NHS is open and encouraging the public to ‘help us help you‘ by contacting their GP if they are unwell.
John is by means alone. At least 14,000 people have missed a lung cancer test since March. This was the number a few weeks ago so it is now even more.
People with lung cancer are just as important as those with Covid. This is why we launched our Still Here campaign because lung cancer and the people it affects are very much still here and they need help. They need to be diagnosed and treated quickly to give them the best chance of survival.
It is essential those with symptoms, including a persistent cough, contact their GP. You may need to be persistent yourself. You may need to keep contacting them. You may need to ask for further tests. You may need to chase up the results of these tests. You need to do everything you can to preserve your health and your life, and we are here to help you every step of the way.