Drop in cancer referrals in Wales

OVER 40 per cent of people in Wales experiencing possible cancer symptoms in the first wave of the pandemic did not contact their GP, according to a survey conducted by Cardiff University and Cancer Research UK.

The research found that the most common reasons for not seeking help were worrying about wasting the health professional’s time (26 per cent) and worrying about putting extra strain on the NHS (20 per cent). Finding it difficult to get an appointment with a particular healthcare professional (16.9 per cent) and not wanting to be seen as someone who makes a fuss (15.7 per cent) were other common reasons.

Welsh Government figures also show 20,000 fewer people were urgently referred for a possible cancer diagnosis between March and November 2020.

Cancer Research UK has launched Don’t Ignore It, a major awareness campaign urging people to contact their doctor if they are concerned about their health.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “During the first wave of the pandemic many people in Wales didn’t seek help because they didn’t want to add to NHS workload and were worried about wasting their doctor’s time, but it’s important people don’t delay contacting their GP as finding cancer early can make all the difference."