Princess of Wales’ cancer announcement inspires people to get symptoms checked

News that the Princess of Wales has been diagnosed with cancer will have been a shock to many, but speaking out about her diagnosis could help others.

Dr Neil Smith, primary care director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance and Blackburn GP, said that her bravery in opening up about her diagnosis last week has already given many more people that vital prompt to act upon symptoms and get themselves checked.

He said: “I was shocked and saddened by the news, as millions of people no doubt were when it was revealed on Friday, and my thoughts are with the Princess of Wales and her family.

“It is a brave and admirable thing she has done to reveal her diagnosis in this way, with the hope that it encourages people to come forward sooner to be checked out, and gives others affected by cancer more confidence to speak about their own experience.”

Visits to the NHS website’s cancer page rose by 373 per cent in the 24 hours following the announcement, and Macmillan Cancer Support said traffic to its support pages was the highest it had been at a weekend since the first lockdown in March 2020.

The NHS is seeing and treating record numbers of people for cancer, with almost 3 million people receiving potentially lifesaving cancer checks in the past year.

One in two people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime and detecting the disease early gives the best chance of successful treatment.

Dr Smith continued: “For some people, even making the decision to get their symptoms checked out can be daunting – receiving a cancer diagnosis can be devastating, and life-changing.

“There has been a spike in people seeking vital information about signs and symptoms over the last few days, and if there is a silver lining it is that there will undoubtedly be people who have acted upon the early signs and symptoms and decided to contact their GP.

“It’s really important to be aware of what is normal for you and speak to your doctor about any unusual changes in your body as you notice them. I’d also urge everyone that is invited for a cancer screening to take up the offer.

“Early diagnosis can be vital in treating cancer, and more cancers are being diagnosed at an early stage than ever before and survival rates are at an all-time high.”

Visit the NHS website’s cancer symptoms page for more information about the early signs of cancer, and always contact your GP if you have any symptoms that you are worried about.


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