Know the early signs and symptoms of cancer and don’t delay seeking advice from your NHS

Today (4 February) is World Cancer Day and people across Lancashire and South Cumbria are being reminded of the signs and symptoms of cancer and the importance of seeking advice from local healthcare services if they are worried.

Dr Neil Smith, local GP and cancer director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) is advising people not to put off vital checks, and instead follow the lead of the many people coming forward each month to get either reassurance or early diagnosis following the discovery of signs or symptoms of potential cancer.

Dr Smith said: “Anyone worried about potential cancer symptoms should contact their GP surgery as soon as possible. Don’t think it’s not important or put it off. Your GP will make time to listen to your concerns.

“It’s vital that we continue to encourage people to come forward. Symptoms can be vague and difficult to spot so it is important that people speak to their GP if they are experiencing something unusual or different for them so they can get the help they need.”

Anyone experiencing symptoms such as unexplained bleeding, the discovery of a new lump or a change to your skin, unexplained weight loss or tiredness, any type of unexplained pain that doesn’t go away with treatment or diarrhoea that lasts three weeks or more, should get in touch with their local NHS.

In addition, anyone who has received an NHS letter inviting them for screening – whether bowel, breast or lung – should also make sure they follow up and book their appointments as soon as they are able.

Dr Smith said: “We know that people may be developing these cancers long before they notice any signs or symptoms, so it’s important that once invited, people book their appointments as soon as possible. That way, we can pick up any abnormalities and start treatment early to improve the chances of success.

“We are going further and faster than ever before in our ambitions to catch more cancers at an earlier stage so that we can save more lives.

NHS staff are working hard to ensure that those who are coming forward for checks can be seen quickly, so that cancer can be caught at an earlier stage.”

In 2021, the NHS announced a £20 million investment to speed up cancer diagnosis so that thousands more people can get potentially life-saving cancer checks.

For further information on the range of signs and symptoms of cancer, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms/