Patients encouraged to get checked for cancer in NHS England adverts

·3-min read
(PA) (PA Archive)
(PA) (PA Archive)

Patients are being encouraged to get checked for cancer in new television adverts launched by the NHS.

The commercials are designed to combat cancer fears, after polling by NHS England showed that almost one third of patients would delay visiting a GP due to worries about receiving bad news or wasting NHS time.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the 2,000 people polled said dying was their biggest cancer worry, but just over a fifth (21%) would delay visiting their GP because they would hope serious health concerns would disappear first.

It’s fantastic to see the NHS launch the next phase of their campaign to combat the fear of cancer – I urge anyone with concerns to get checked out – it could save your life.

Sajid Javid

A similar campaign which ran in March resulted in a 17-fold increase in people accessing the NHS website for support compared with the previous month.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS, said it is “vital” that patients come forward for checks quickly if they think they have symptoms of a serious disease.

She said: “The most important thing is that people come forward when they have health concerns.

“Our message is loud and clear – people must not worry about coming forward for care and being a burden on the NHS, it is vital that people get checked as soon as they can – the earlier we see you, the sooner we can treat you.”

The move comes as more than one million potentially life-saving tests have been carried out on patients in England at “one-stop shops” since July 2021, the NHS has said.

More than 90 community diagnostic centres in the country have been offering MRI, CT and other services while hospitals recover from the strain of the pandemic.

NHS England has said it aims to roll out 160 “one-stop shops” across England – boosting testing capacity to around nine million additional checks a year by 2025.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described reaching one million checks as a “pivotal milestone”.

He said: “Reaching one million checks and tests is a pivotal milestone in the biggest catch-up programme in NHS history.

“The Health and Social Care Levy – introduced to deliver biggest catch up programme in NHS history and end spiralling social care costs – means the NHS is well-equipped to continue diagnosing and treating patients quickly so we can tackle the Covid backlogs, reduce waiting lists and save lives.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid added: “It’s fantastic to see the NHS launch the next phase of their campaign to combat the fear of cancer – I urge anyone with concerns to get checked out – it could save your life.”

Health Minister Maria Caulfield said the diagnostic hubs have enabled early diagnosis for diseases including cancer, strokes, heart disease and respiratory conditions.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, added: “It’s really important that people affected by cancer get a speedy diagnosis, so we’re pleased that these one-stop shops have reached this important milestone of delivering one million tests.

“If you notice any unusual changes that aren’t going away, do get speak to your GP.

“Your doctor wants to hear from you and an early diagnosis of cancer can make all the difference.”

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