bowel cancer screening

A new campaign by NHS England launched in August 2021, aiming to encourage patients to seek cancer screening.

Due to the pandemic, thousands of patients have missed crucial appointments to investigate potentially cancerous symptoms. Now the NHS is looking to clear its backlog and prevent further patients from suffering unnecessarily.

Here, we’ll look at the Help Us, Help You, campaign and why it is important to seek help immediately if you are experiencing any symptoms that may be of concern.

What is the Help Us, Help You campaign?

The Help Us, Help You campaign aims to raise awareness of cancer symptoms, encouraging patients to book an appointment with their GP. It has been launched to address the falling number of patients who have been diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic. The fall in cancer diagnosis isn’t down to reduced cancer rates. Instead, it is down to patients not wanting to bother their GP, as well as those who have struggled to get an appointment.

The campaign launched a series of digital, TV, and social media ads. These showed patients with a variety of cancer symptoms, encouraging people to come forward if they too experience the symptoms.

NHS England carried out research in June and found that 60% of patients didn’t want to burden the NHS. Additionally, 49% stated they would put off seeking medical advice compared to before the COVID pandemic.

The research also revealed that many patients don’t recognise the symptoms of cancers. This was particularly the case in urological and abdominal cancers. Speaking about the results, the Chief Executive of the NHS, Amanda Pritchard, states:

“We know that thousands of people could be risking their lives by delaying medical attention for cancer symptoms. We are open and ready to treat people with potential cancer symptoms.”

Pandemic has seen a change in attitude towards cancer screening

A new study carried out by Cardiff University showed 1 in 5 people are less likely to undergo cancer screening compared to before the COVID pandemic.

The study involved 7,543 adults from around the UK and it took place from August to September 2020. Approximately 2502 participants were eligible for bowel cancer screening, and 2,319 were eligible for cervical screening.

Most patients stated they would go to their next cancer screening appointment. However, 19% of patients who were eligible for bowel cancer screening admitted they were less likely to attend compared to before the pandemic.

Why early screening for bowel cancer is important

Seeking early screening for bowel cancer is extremely important. It is typically a more aggressive form of cancer, known to be the second biggest cancer killer in the UK. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better the chance of treating it successfully.

If you suspect you have cancer symptoms, book an appointment with your GP or a private healthcare specialist today. The earlier it is detected, the quicker treatment can begin.