Doctor presenting x-ray

NHS awareness campaign triggers record cancer referrals

An NHS and Prostate Cancer UK awareness campaign has returned record results in encouraging men to get checked for urological cancers.

The six-week campaign that was launched in mid-February urged men to use the charity’s online risk checker in a bid to reduce the shortfall in men starting prostate cancer treatment since the pandemic began.

Almost 25,000 people were referred in the month of March, which is a 23% increase on February and a 30% increase on March of last year.

NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard, said: “Lives are being saved thanks to a record-breaking number of men taking the vital decision to get an NHS cancer check.

“The NHS in England has seen all-time high levels of referrals for urological cancers but we know there is more to do to catch cancers earlier, which is why we’re investing billions to expand diagnostic and treatment capacity to treat more people sooner, as part of the most ambitious recovery plan in NHS history.

“It can feel daunting confronting issues but talking about cancer can save lives, and it is so important that anyone at higher risk or who has concerns, follows the lead of people like Stephen Fry, Rod Stewart and Bill Turnbull, to get seen and treated as quickly as possible.”

The awareness campaign launched alongside another NHS initiative called “Help Us Help You”, which is focusing on helping people overcome barriers like fear and anxiety that often delay or prevent them coming forward.

Research has shown that 56% of people say a cancer diagnosis is their biggest health fear, with 42% of those surveyed saying they would ignore symptoms and look for answers online or wait until anything has changed before seeing a GP.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “More people are coming forward for life-saving urological cancer checks and treatment thanks to some fantastic work in raising awareness of the risk factors.

“Seeking advice if you have any concerns could stop the disease in its tracks and ultimately save your life. We will set out a 10-Year Cancer Plan this summer, with a focus on early diagnosis and innovative treatments – both of which will help us tackle the Covid backlog.”

More information about total cancer referrals and the campaign in general is available here.

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