Cancer referrals in Suffolk decrease by 50 per cent since start of coronavirus lockdown
Patients have been told ‘don’t sit it out, get checked out’, after cancer referrals dropped by more than half since the Covid-19 lockdown began.
The NHS in Suffolk has launched a campaign, encouraging residents to seek medical help at any sign of symptoms.
It is thought many are staying away from hospitals and GP surgeries due to coronavirus fears.
Dr Andrew Yager, the cancer lead for the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, estimated that cancer referrals had dropped to just one third of usual numbers.
The number has now increased to around 50 per cent, but NHS chiefs are worried fewer referrals could lead to a backlog in cases, diagnoses being made at a later stage and pressure on diagnostic capacity.
Dr Yager said: “The NHS is concerned that instead of seeing a cancer patient at the first or second stage, it might not be until a later stage, which can be devastating.
“We are operating (for cancer care) with the message that it is business as normal,”
Dr Yager said signs to look out for are any lumps, blood in urine or faeces, a recurring cough, or anything unexplained or unexpected.