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​Don't let the fear of cancer put you off screening


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People in Southwark are being urged to put aside their fears and 'get tested' to help the fight against cancer.

Ahead of World Cancer Day (Monday, 4 February 2019), GPs in the borough are stressing the importance of early stage detection, screening, and diagnosis. Getting an early diagnosis can significantly improve cancer patients' chances of survival. 

Last year, a report found that cancer is the most feared disease in the country. However, one in four people admitted they would not seek medical attention after discovering a potential cancer symptom for fear of what the diagnosis would be[1].

When a cancer is detected at an early stage – and treated – the chance of survival beyond five years is far higher than when detected at a later stage when the tumour has spread.

In Southwark, 52 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stages 1 or 2[2]  meaning patients can have more effective treatment and increase their chance of survival.

Dr Nicola Weaver, Macmillan GP Clinical Associate for Cancer at NHS Southwark CCG, said:

"Cancer is often curable if it is picked up and treated early. Delaying acting on a possible signs or symptoms can allow the cancer to spread and cause damage totally unchallenged. That's why, on this World Cancer Day, I urge you all to educate yourselves with the signs and symptoms of cancer and to not be afraid to seek help immediately.

"For those who are invited to a screening appointment, it's important you attend, as it is one of the best ways to detect cancer at an early stage."

Globally, five million patients[3] could have improved their quality of life and chances of survival if their cancer had been detected sooner, with men being particularly bad at not taking action when recognising cancerous symptoms. 

Further advice on symptoms of cancer can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms/

More information about World Cancer Day can be found at www.worldcancerday.org 


[1] https://www.populus.co.uk/2018/08/the-state-of-cancer-public-attitudes-and-beliefs-towards-britains-biggest-killer/

[2] https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/sites/default/files/local-cancer-stats/bermondsey_and_old_southwark_20180921.pdf

[3] http://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/cancers/39-All-cancers-fact-sheet.pdf