If you're worried that you might have cancer, it's really important that you ring your GP in the normal way and they'll arrange to have a consultation with you.
One of the things we've seen during COVID, is that patients with potential cancer symptoms are less likely to go to their GP and less likely to be referred in to the hospital for investigation.
If you have been given a hospital appointment and you need to attend for your appointment, please do try to attend. If you have any concerns at all, please contact the relevant team that you've been referred to.
There are a number of measures that have been put in place to try to protect those patients who are at risk or even those who are not.
I know that many people are nervous about this, but there's a reason why you must attend if you've been asked to do so. And as clinicians we will all only ask you to attend if you really think that there's something that can't be done over the phone or via video consultation.
Coming into hospital now is a different experience than you will have had previously. Anyone attending for a cancer investigation is being managed in an area where COVID patients are not being managed. If you walk through the hospital, for instance, you will see a number of signs directing you to stay in a relevant path. There's a social distancing measures in place.
Hospital staff and patients are told to wear masks like the one I have on now. Sometimes we need to wear these face shields that come out over the head and make us look as though we're something out of a science fiction film. But really all of this stays there to keep you safe and to keep members of staff safe as well.
Before you come for certain types of tests, you may be asked to either self-isolate at home or you may be swabbed before you attend. These periods of self-isolation will affect other members of the family. I think it's very important that we understand that if you are worried that you have cancer that you should seek immediate attention. You should be contacting your family doctor to explain your symptoms and signs so that necessary steps can be taken to move forward with your investigation and diagnosis.
What we need is for patients or for you to come in when you have symptoms that you think might be related to cancer. Finding and treating cancer at an early stage does save lives. It enables early treatment and improves the quality of life after a cancer diagnosis has been made.
Remember that the NHS is here for you. It has been throughout the Coronavirus pandemic and it continues to work to support every patient with cancer in England during this time and it will do going forwards.