NHS Western Isles is backs a new Scottish Government campaign urging people not to ignore potential symptoms of dangerous diseases as the health services races to catch up with caseloads which built up during the pandemic emergency.
NHS Western Isles this week highlighted the importance of getting potential lung cancer symptoms checked, as a national Detect Cancer Early campaign gets underway.
Those aged over 40 who have a new or different persistent cough, or unusual breathlessness, for three weeks or more are being urged to not let lung cancer ‘settle in’ by contacting their GP practice without delay.
Dr Maggie Watts from NHS Western Isles echoed the campaign call, reminding people that the sooner lung cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.
The Scottish Government campaign has been developed in response to Public Health Scotland data that shows around 25 per cent fewer lung cancers are being diagnosed now compared to pre-COVID-19.
This, coupled with the fear of a potential cancer diagnosis continues to stop people acting early, when there are more treatment options available and the chance of survival is higher.
Dr Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health, said: “Diagnosing and treating cancer is a priority for the NHS, and this vital campaign drives home the importance of acting early if you have possible lung cancer symptoms.
“GP practices are working differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with initial appointments carried out over the telephone or by video. Measures are in place to ensure your safety if a face-to-face appointment is needed for further examination or tests.
“Whilst lung cancer is the most common cancer in Scotland, with around 5,500 new cases diagnosed in every year, there’s lots that can be done to treat it. So please don’t delay contacting your GP practice if you are concerned.”
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "More people are surviving cancer than ever before, but we know that fear of cancer is putting people off getting checked or attending screening, when invited.
“Don’t ignore early cancer signs and symptoms, and certainly don’t delay getting checked. NHS Scotland remains open during COVID-19 and your GP practice is still there for you – getting checked early is a hugely important step in finding out if you, or your loved one, needs urgent medical help.
"While it’s probably nothing to worry about, a quicker diagnosis can mean less worry. If cancer is confirmed, more treatment options are available if it’s found early.”
For more information on lung cancer signs and symptoms, visit getcheckedearly.org
You can view the TV advert here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hED5tJN6Gk4