Rossendale GP leads initiative to raise awareness concerning the early detection of cancer
The clinical lead for cancer in Rossendale, Dr James Cowdery, is spearheading a campaign to raise awareness about the early detection of cancer.
Dr Cowdery, a GP at Waterfoot Medical Practice also works in conjunction with the other GP practices in Rossendale in what is known as a Primary Care Network (PCN).
PCNs are groups of practices that work together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas. There are two PCNs in Rossendale – Rossendale East which covers the Whitworth, Bacup and Waterfoot GP practices, and Rossendale West which covers the Rawtenstall and Haslingden GP practices.
Increasing the early detection of cancer is one of the key responsibilities of the Rossendale PCNs.
Dr Cowdery said: ‘Early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for successful treatment. There are two major components of early detection of cancer of which are education to promote early diagnosis and screening.”
Screening refers to the use of simple tests. It is a way of identifying apparently healthy people who may have an increased risk of a particular condition. The NHS offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population. The aim is to offer screening to the people who are most likely to benefit from it. For example, some screening tests are only offered to newborn babies, while others such as breast screening and bowel cancer screening are only offered to older people.
Deciding whether or not to have a screening test is a personal choice and one which only the individual can make. When you are invited for screening, you will receive an information leaflet about the screening test. You can discuss any aspect of the screening test with your health professional and decide whether or not it's right for you.
Dr Cowdery added: “Recognising the warning signs of cancer and taking prompt action can lead to early diagnosis and treatment. Increased awareness of possible warning signs of cancer, among physicians, nurses and other health care providers as well as among the general public, can have a great impact on the disease. Some early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent indigestion and chronic hoarseness. Early diagnosis is particularly relevant for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum, and skin.”
It's important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body, such as blood in your pee or poo, a lump, persistent bloating or pain that does not go away. These symptoms are often caused by other non-cancerous illnesses, but it's important to speak to your GP so they can investigate. Finding cancer early means it's easier to treat.
As part of the early detection of cancer initiative Dr Cowdery urges patients to contact their registered GP practice without delay should they either recognise any of the warning signs mentioned above or have any concerns at all.
For more information please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/