Today (4 February) marks World Cancer Day, a day designed to prevent cancer, promote research, improve patient services, raise awareness and “mobilise the global community to make progress against cancer.”
The day was set up by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) – the largest and oldest international cancer organisation and was first marked in 2000.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock marked the day by visiting the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London and urged people to get checked if experiencing any symptoms “however mild you think they might be.”
Mr. Hancock posted a video on social media saying: “Today is World Cancer Day. Especially this year, it’s an important moment to remind us all that the NHS is open for everyone who needs it.”
The Health Secretary has launched a national appeal after referrals for some major cancers plummeted by almost a third.
NHS figures show the number of people being sent for hospital checks remain far lower than before the pandemic. Referrals for lung cancer are down by 29 per cent, while the number of men undergoing prostate tests dropped by 15 per cent in a year.
Mr Hancock added: “If you notice any unusual symptoms which last more than a few weeks, however mild you think they might be, please come forward and discuss it with your GP.
“The sooner you speak to your GP, the sooner a diagnosis can be made, the sooner treatment can start, and the more lives we can save.”
NHS Clinical Cancer Director Professor Peter Johnson added: “The NHS has had a year like no other and, while Covid has put the health service under huge pressure, doctors, nurses and specialist clinicians have still carried out nearly 1.5 million cancer checks with more than 200,000 people starting treatment.
“Catching cancer early saves lives which is why we are using this World Cancer Day to urge anyone with a worrying symptom to help us help you by getting it checked out and come forward for your routine screenings when offered an appointment.”
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