A major new NHS campaign launches today, urging anyone concerned about cancer to get checked and to keep routine appointments. The Accessing NHS Services drive is part of the overarching Help Us Help You campaign and aims to reassure non-Covid-19 patients they aren't a “burden” to the NHS.
It comes as new figures reveal the numbers waiting more than a year for hospital treatment have hit a 12-year high in England. The numbers starting cancer treatment and getting urgent checks are also below the levels seen a year ago. One in five people said that fear of getting coronavirus or passing it onto others was a major reason for not getting help.
Earlier this year, brain tumour patient Neil Matheson was one of those given the impossible choice to either go ahead with his treatment for a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and risk contracting Covid, or wait until the virus infection rate meant it was safer to do so. Neil decided to delay further treatment and has now been told the tumour has progressed so much that his treatment has been withdrawn as it is not working.
Hugh Adams, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Brain Tumour Research, said: “The pandemic has been impactful on the clinical pathway for many cancer patients and Neil and his family have been placed in a truly dreadful situation. How desperate that they have had to make these choices. We welcome this campaign’s aims to help the public understand how they can safely access the best services for them and would urge anyone suffering from a possible brain tumour symptom to seek professional advice as soon as possible. We must do what we can to ensure that Covid does not completely disrupt care for brain tumour patients and that the research and clinical trials that will improve options and outcomes for patients, which are currently in jeopardy, are able to continue.”
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