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4 May 2020

Sheffield Hospitals cancer specialists are warning people not to ignore potential cancer symptoms following a 70% drop in cancer referrals since COVID-19

Cancer specialists at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals are urging people not to ignore potential cancer symptoms following a drop of over 70% in the number of urgent referrals since the start of COVD-19.

GPs are still able to provide advice to anyone worried about symptoms which could be a sign of cancer and if appropriate there are options to have remote consultations via telephone or video technology. The GPs can then send urgent referrals as normal to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and again there are measures in place to ensure patients can have the necessary consultation and tests they need to get a diagnosis.

Dr Patricia Fisher, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Weston Park Cancer Centre and Clinical Director Cancer Alliance South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire:: “We know that finding cancer early gives us the best chance to cure it, and ignoring potential problems can have serious consequences now or in the future. We have seen a drop of over 70% in the number of referrals we have received since the start of COVID-19 which suggests people are putting off contacting their GP because they think services are not running or they are worried about coming out of self- isolation and contracting the virus. We are urging anyone who is concerned, not to put off speaking to their GP in the first instance. Both GPs and the hospitals have changed the way we work to ensure we can still assess urgent cases, carry out the appropriate tests safely and then discuss the best way forward in terms of any treatment which might be needed. People should not delay coming forward particularly if there is a risk of cancer.”

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