This World Cancer Day, Friday February 4, the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS Cancer Alliance is highlighting the importance of coming forward with worrying signs and symptoms or for routine screening appointments - in a bid to diagnose and treat people as early and as fast as possible; giving people the best possible chance to not only survive but live healthy lives long after their treatment.
Dr Patricia Fisher, consultant clinical oncologist and clinical director for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS Cancer Alliance, said: “We have big ambitions for cancer care and services over the next few years and working with our NHS partners and local voluntary and community organisations, we have a number of initiatives in place to help make that happen.
"From cancer champions in local communities, ways of diagnosing people faster and bringing more treatments closer to where people live – we want anyone affected by cancer to have the best possible chances, care and experience.
“Our ambition is to diagnose 75 per cent of people at the most treatable stages (I and II) by 2028, which was our ambition before and is now even more important as we move out of the pandemic and learn to live with Covid-19.”
Dr David Crichton, GP and lead for early diagnosis and inequalities for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS Cancer Alliance, said: “Some people may not want to come forward, are putting it off for another day or are scared or embarrassed to come forward but recognising potentially worrying symptoms is the first step to getting the all-clear.
"These could include:
- Blood in your wee or poo
- A change in bowel habits
- A persistent lump or swelling
- Unexplained weight loss
- Consistent tiredness
- A cough that has lasted for three weeks or more and isn’t Covid.
“Nine out of ten people who have their symptoms checked out, go on to get the all-clear.
"If you are experiencing something that isn’t normal for you, or is not going away, please contact your GP and let’s find cancer early.”
The NHS has worked hard and in new and different ways to make sure the highest priority patients – including those with or with suspected cancer - are seen and treated throughout Covid.
Across the SYB ICS Cancer Alliance, partners are working together to improve people’s experience of cancer services, including funding new innovations and supporting new diagnostic and treatment centres to improve access to the best and latest tests and treatments to support them in their journey.
Katie, aged 23 from Barnsley, was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer in January 2021 and one year later, has now successfully completed her treatment. She said: “I found the lump, saw my GP, had hospital tests and was diagnosed with breast cancer all within less than four weeks.
“Early diagnosis is so important to beating cancer. It may turn out to be harmless but it’s always better to get it checked and ruled out, than leave it and potentially have cancer that spreads and is more difficult to treat or worse, incurable.
"If you are worried, I would say 100 per cent please visit your GP.”