Today (Thursday 4 February) is World Cancer Day.
Your health and wellbeing are paramount, and although we continue to battle Covid-19, now more than ever it is crucial to get checked if you have any symptom, as cancer will not wait until the end of the pandemic.
At our Trust, we have continued with our cancer care throughout Covid-19 and we offer a variety of Covid-safe services. This includes telephone appointments, virtual clinics, face-to-face sessions, diagnostic investigations, booklets, workshops and interactive videos.
Our lead cancer nurse, Jemma O’Reilly, stressed the importance of getting a symptom checked and said: “Your health is important to us and we are here to provide you with the care and support that you need. That is why our specialists are on hand to listen to you and offer help.
“If you do have any concerns, no matter how small, you should talk to someone. The majority of people that we see do not have cancer, but it is extremely important you get tested if you are having symptoms.”
One patient who is showing incredible bravery as she battles bowel cancer is Georgina Dutton. The 40-year-old said: “The time between my referral to BHRUT to my diagnosis was three weeks. I was only diagnosed last month and the nurses have been amazing. No matter what question or concern I have, no matter how big or small, they always provide an answer and reassurance.
“If there is one message I want to say, it is to get checked! Do not stay quiet, even if you only have one symptom. I have felt very safe entering the hospital during the pandemic. There are so many procedures in place to keep people safe.”
We know that hospitals can be a scary place to visit at any time, especially during a pandemic. This is why we have a number of protocols in place to protect you, us and our patients. As a Trust, we have transformed our services, estates and staffing to ensure that we comply with infection, prevention and control guidance for Covid-19.
Being diagnosed, living with and beating cancer is a daunting thought, but it is important that we recognise the current situation we live in with Covid-19. This is why we are delighted to announce that at our Trust, we have begun a Covid-19 vaccination program for our cancer patients.
Clare Bailey, Divisional Director of Healthcare Professionals for Cancer and Clinical Support at our Trust, said: “We’re delighted that we’re working closely with our community colleagues to vaccinate our cancer patients, both out in the community and in our hospital hubs.
“To ensure everyone at our hospitals feel safe, I must encourage patients to come in for their Covid-19 swab tests, self-isolate as required and attend appointments, surgeries and treatments in the private sector.
“The way in which we deliver our cancer services has had to change during the pandemic, but I can confirm that they are still on-going. We are constantly monitoring and reviewing the situation and our service updates page on our website provides the latest information, not just cancer treatments but also a number of our other services. ”
If you are diagnosed with cancer at our Trust, please be assured that you will be provided contact details for a clinical nurse specialist, a Macmillan nurse or a keyworker, who will be able to answer your questions and offer support. We also have an amazing ‘Living With and Beyond Cancer’ team, who are here for you. Their number is 01708 435 174.
If you have cancer or are the friend or family member of someone who is battling the illness, Macmillan Cancer Support is available to chat to online or over the phone (0808 808 00 00). Macmillan also has great information for those battling cancer during Covid-19.
As Cancer Research UK says, ‘together we will beat cancer’. If you have a lump or symptom, please get it checked.