The NHS has today launched its new cancer awareness campaign to encourage those with potential symptoms to seek help.
With stay at home messages dominating our thoughts for the last five months, cancer referral rates have plummeted. Nearly half of the public admitted to having concerns about contacting their GP in the midst of the pandemic, whilst one in 10 conceded they would not have sought help even if they found a lump or new mole.
Early detection is key for all cancer, including lung cancer. Delays in diagnosis could be the difference between curative treatment or palliative care.
Lung cancer can be difficult to diagnose early; symptoms are often vague and, in some cases, only start to show when the cancer has already started to spread. This was the case before covid. We now face an even bigger hurdle with a cough, the symptom most commonly associated to lung cancer, now so overtly linked to coronavirus.Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
These startling revelations has prompted the NHS to launch its new campaign, appropriately named Help Us Help You. They have teamed up with several celebrities who themselves have experienced difference forms of cancer.
Celebrities include BBC Breakfast presenter, Bill Turnbull who has prostate cancer, Nolan sisters Linda and Anne who were diagnosed with cancer within days of each other and Deborah James, aka ‘Bowel Babe’. TV doctors, Dr Ranj Singh and Dr Amir Khan have also pledged their support to the campaign.
Professor Peter Johnson is the NHS clinical director for cancer:
“We cannot let covid became a reason for people not to get checked for cancer – NHS staff up and down the country have worked very hard to make sure that tests and treatment can go ahead quickly and safely.
Cancers are detected earlier and lives are saved if more people are referred for checks so our message to you is come forward – it could save your life.”
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, is in full support of the campaign:
“We know when lung cancer is caught early, curative treatment is possible.
Before covid hit, there was a real momentum behind lung cancer. Lung health check pilots were poised to launch and, as last week’s national lung cancer audit (NLCA) showed, we are seeing more people being diagnosed earlier. It is absolutely vital that we restore confidence and reassure people it is safe to seek help when they need it, that they are not being a burden, to regain this momentum. Lives depend on it.
Lung cancer, however, can be difficult to diagnose earlier; symptoms are often vague and, in some cases, only start to show when the cancer has already started to spread. This was the case before covid. We now face an even bigger hurdle with a cough, the symptom most commonly associated to lung cancer, now so overtly linked to coronavirus.
This is why we are in full support of the new NHS campaign and are also accelerating our plans for lung cancer awareness month too.”