Impact of Covid 19 on Urgent Care and GP appointments…..

The NHS is launching a new campaign to make sure people continue to seek urgent care during a medical emergency, (such as suspected heart attacks and strokes), after visits to A&E dropped by 50% this month. These figures are due to an understandable fear of catching Coronavirus, but also for some not wanting to be a burden to an already over-stretched service. But lives are being lost because of this.

Figures are also coming to light of fewer cancers being diagnosed. This might be down to the same reasons, but also a reluctance to visit the GP with symptoms that could be linked with cancer.  After all, who wants to have their fears confirmed?  And it’s all too easy to think, “I’ll leave it until the virus situation has calmed down and decide then”. It is well known that cancer is more curable the sooner it is diagnosed.

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer.  Cancer services have had to restrict what they usually offer due to the risk of harm to patients. Their resources are also reduced because of the virus, and tests and treatments have had to be postponed.  Nevertheless, it is vitally important that if you notice any unusual changes or anything that doesn’t go away, see your doctor – don’t put it off. GP surgeries have systems in place to protect both patients and staff.

The symptoms below are more often caused by something far less serious than cancer, but they could be a sign of the disease:

Breathlessness; Unexplained vaginal bleeding; Very heavy night sweats; Croaky voice or hoarseness; Persistent heartburn or indigestion; Persistent bloating; Difficulty swallowing; Change in bowel habit; A sore or a mouth ulcer that won’t heal; Unusual lump or swelling;  Presence of blood where there shouldn’t be; Persistent cough; Unexplained pain or ache; Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite; New mole or changes to a mole.

And remember, if you spot anything that isn’t normal for you, whether it’s on this list or not, get it checked out. It’s natural to be worried, but spotting cancer early means treatment is more likely to be successful.

Be safe.

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