My View, Dr Nick Tupper - Don’t take risks with health

Dr Marco Pieri from Petersgate Medical Centre and Dr Anna Kirkman from The Burns Practice.
Dr Marco Pieri from Petersgate Medical Centre and Dr Anna Kirkman from The Burns Practice.
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You can put off washing your car, mowing your lawn and painting the fence. They can wait.

But there are some things you shouldn’t miss and a key ‘must do’ as far as I am concerned is to keep your appointment if your GP urgently refers you to hospital because he or she thinks you may have cancer.

It’s common sense you would think. Faced with a potentially life-threatening condition wouldn’t you want to see skilled people who could treat you as soon as possible?

Yet every month in Doncaster, eight patients choose to change their appointment with a cancer specialist and, as a result, are not seen within two weeks of being referred by their GP.

What could be more important than your health? Time is precious, any delay could have a detrimental effect. It’s not something you can leave to chance.

The NHS has worked hard to create the two-week referral system. It’s the envy of many parts of the world.

But, amazingly, nearly three-quarters of Doncaster people choose not to be seen within two weeks because they have commitments such as holidays and, bizarrely in one case, because of a washing machine problem.

By diagnosing cancers earlier in Doncaster we are enabling people to fight and win their battle against the disease. Many more people are having curative treatment than palliative care and we have helped an extra 50 people beat the disease in the last year alone.

People who have symptoms of cancer and are referred to a cancer specialist quickly have better options for treatment.

If you are diagnosed and treated in a managed way you have a greater chance to become a cancer survivor than if your diagnosis comes after an emergency admission from A&E because your condition has gone unchecked.

Doncaster CCG is working with other health colleagues, Doncaster Council and the voluntary sector to raise awareness of the symptoms of cancer.

We all need to know what to look for. In Doncaster we are worse than other parts of the country when it comes to diagnosing and surviving lung cancer in men and women and prostate and bowel cancer for men.

We are using different methods to raise public awareness and, in the next few weeks, pharmacies in the borough will help spread the message.

They will be dispensing medicines in bags that have health messages on the side.

Look out for local GPs Dr Marco Pieri and Dr Anna Kirkman on the side of the bags, reminding you that when it comes to cancer there are four key signs to look for.

If you have any health concerns, see your GP soon. We’re waiting, you shouldn’t.