Black healthcare professionals are backing a major new campaign urging anyone concerned about cancer to get checked and to keep routine appointments, as new research found that even now, nearly half (48%) of the public would delay or not seek medical help at all.
A fifth (22%) would not want to be a burden on the health service while a similar number said that fear of getting coronavirus or passing it onto others was a major reason for not getting help.
More than four in ten people would leave it longer to get health advice than they normally would have before the coronavirus outbreak, however, delaying can have serious consequences for some cancers.
NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to keep cancer services going throughout the pandemic, with almost one million people referred for checks or starting treatment since the virus took hold. Community and faith-based organisations such as Caribbean and African Health Network and Ghana Nurses Association recently met with members of the NHS and PHE teams to discuss the campaign and the need to urge members of the Black community to utilise NHS services.
Also present at the meeting was Professor Frank Chinegwundoh MBE, Consultant Urological Surgeon said “Covid-19 has been challenging for many of us and it’s understandable why many people may be deterred from seeking medical advice. We want to reassure you the NHS has put measures in place to see you and your loved ones safe. If you have even the slightest concern, it’s better to speak to your GP than to ignore it.”
NHS services have put a range of measures in place so that people can be treated safely throughout the pandemic including Covid protected cancer surgery hubs, a Covid friendly drugs fund which means fewer trips to hospital, and chemotherapy being delivered in more convenient locations.
Symptoms of cancer include:
- Changes in bowel habits, including blood
- Unexplained weight loss
- A lump
- Persistent bloating
- Pain that does not go away