North London NHS campaign urges residents to 'act early' on symptoms
- Credit: Adam Scott/NHS
An NHS campaign launched this week encouraging local residents to act on symptoms that may be a sign of cancer.
The North Central London Cancer Alliance (NCLCA), covering Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington, is urging people to “act early” so they can get screening and treatment – if required – as quickly as possible.
Figures from the Centre for Cancer Outcomes estimate 950 “missing” diagnoses across the five boroughs between April 2020 to January 2021, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Highgate resident Sam Jukes-Adams is a case in point. She received her cervical screening invitation letter last May but initially ignored it for fear of taking up the NHS’ time, and her worries over going to the GP at the height of the pandemic.
“But then I got the reminder letter and I thought I need to make sure I don’t become part of the problem,” Sam said.
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“When I did go for my cervical screening, apart from the nurse being in a gown and wearing a mask and visor, the experience was exactly the same as my previous tests.
“In truth the person who is going to suffer from delaying cervical screening and then finding out that there’s something amiss, is you.”
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Sam attended her cervical screening appointment in August 2020 and her results were all clear.
Working to ensure the fears of people such as Sam are allayed, the local campaign builds on the NHS’s national Help Us Help You drive.
The campaign has been put together in collaboration with the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (NCLCGG).
It features local healthcare professionals and members of the public, calling on people to talk to their GPs and to participate in cancer screening when invited, regardless of Covid-19 restrictions.
The NCLCA’s managing director, Naser Turabi, said: “What we are most worried about is people staying at home if they have symptoms such as unexplained pain, a lump, blood in poo or a persistent cough.
“Although the ways to contact your GP have changed and getting through is sometimes difficult, people who have noticed changes in their health must still seek help. If it turns out to be cancer, early diagnosis makes successful treatment much more likely.”
The NCLCA works in partnership with patients, health and care organisations in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.
Its work develops the diagnosis, treatment and care for cancer patients.
For more information on the campaign visit www.smallc.org.uk