Has Covid-19 displaced Cancer?

Gisa Ellis-Mawer
Gisa Ellis-Mawer
The Founder of Gisa Ellis Consulting

Timing is crucial with cancer. The sooner the diagnosis, the sooner the treatment, the better the chances for cure. Saying that, even in ‘normal times’, speed is often an issue especially in the public health sector, where patients have to wait for surgeries and treatments.

Things have become worse since covid-19 entered the stage and turned life upside down for the world population, and even more so for cancer patients.

Depending where patients live, lockdowns and restricted travel might seriously impact when patients can see a GP or a specialist. This also means that people who are experiencing unusual symptoms first won’t necessarily see a doctor straight away.

Urgent hospital referrals dropped by 43% during lockdown in the UK alone. GP’s made 339 242 urgent referrals for people with cancer symptoms between April and June in England, in comparison there were 594 060 in the same months in 2019.

In addition, main resources in the Health Sector have been allocated to testing and fighting covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic, which results in delay of surgeries and treatments for cancer patients.

Not to speak about the increased health risk of cancer patients during covid-19 as many have a compromised immune system already going through chemotherapy for example. This makes leaving home in general including visits to doctors for treatments and testing challenging. Not to speak of travelling overseas to see specialists.

Not all experts agree with the emphasis the Health sector has been putting on covid-19. Professor Karol Sikora, Chief Medical Officer of Rutherford Health/UK goes as far as saying ‘we’ve been spending too much time obsessed by covid deaths and not enough trying to get our health system back to business as usual to avoid other deaths’.

This is backed by national statistics. Associate Director Harry Quilter-Pinner at the IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) states that a more favourable system is needed which ‘demands bolder action on public health to prevent people from getting cancer, and more investment in NHS diagnostics to ensure if people do get cancer, we can catch it early’.

No doubt, times currently are even more challenging for patients with cancer or potential cancer symptoms then before. Even more so considering that it is unlikely that covid-19 will disappear from our life’s completely soon. Many patients or potential patients are feeling left out in the cold, scared and vulnerable.

Where does all of this leave you as the cancer patient or potential cancer patient?

Luckily, more and more medical and other professionals offer virtual consultations and online information providing support on your journey, not only in the private sector but in the public sector as well.

In challenging times like today, it is very important and unavoidable to also be proactive yourself. Seek help and support from trusted advisors, via the online medium for now. Sometimes there is a cost involved, you might be able to claim from your insurance if you have one.

In addition, anything that you can do to strengthen the immune system and keep you in a positive mind set will help. To make a start I suggest you read my recent blog post ‘1o to Dos to kick start your personal immune boosting program’ https://gisaellis.com/10-to-dos-to-kick-start-your-personal-immune-boosting-program/and download my eBook ‘How to give CANCER a bloody good fight’.

This will be helpful even if you are not a cancer patient and have no symptoms yourself. Prevention is key. Cancer figures worldwide have steadily been rising and are predicted to continue to do so, therefore prevention and especially strengthening of your immune system is of utmost importance!

Stay safe, well and happy!

I look forward to receive any comments you are having!

Gisa x

 

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