People are being encouraged to contact their GP if they are worried they may have cancer symptoms.
To mark World Cancer Day, the Irish Cancer Society has launched a campaign urging people to talk to their doctor. The “Your Health Matters” initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of early detection.
RTÉ broadcaster Marty Morrissey said he found it staggering that one in four people did not attend a GP or hospital appointment during the March-June lockdown last year.
“I don’t know about you but my guess is, most of us are the same. Maybe we noticed something that doesn’t feel right but instead of contacting our doctor, we put it on the long finger hoping it will go away on its own. But this year, even with everything that’s going on, it’s important to check it out,” he said.
HSE data shows that the number of suspected cancer cases referred through the Healthlink e-referral system dropped by more than 50 per cent after the first wave of the pandemic.
Marty Morrissey is supporting the Irish Cancer Society’s Your Health Matters campaign. People are much more likely to survive cancer if it’s found early. Photo: Andres Poveda
Dr Una Kennedy, general gractitioner and GP advisor with the NCCP, said: “I want to make this clear – we are working hard to make sure that anyone who is worried about any sign or symptom of cancer is seen, despite the pandemic.
“There are many challenges but detecting cancer early is a priority, and we are making sure that those who need it are receiving it. Please do not hesitate in contacting your doctor’s surgery if you have any questions.”
Research commissioned by the Irish Cancer Society reveals that one in four people did not attend a GP or hospital appointment when they needed to during the first lockdown. Reasons for this included not believing their condition was serious enough, fear of contracting Covid-19 or their appointment was cancelled.
The research also revealed that most survey respondents (70 per cent) said they still feel safe attending GP and hospital appointments in person. One in two people said they had attended their GP clinic in person during the previous eight months.
Call the Irish Cancer Society’s Support Line on 1800 200 700 to speak with a registered nurse. Visit cancer.ie for more information.