Cancer mortality rates could rise further due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the initial lockdown, saw the world come to a standstill, where people in the UK were told not to leave their homes for any reason bar the following;
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise a day
- Any medical needs, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
Despite one of the essential reasons for being able to leave the house included medical attention, many people were in such a state of panic, they would not have sought help for what they considered a minor illness or slight change in their health. The result of this is as follows, ‘Almost 1,600 fewer people than expected were diagnosed with the three most common cancers during the first nine months of the COVID pandemic in Scotland’, (BBC News).
The British Medical Journal has recently released a study named, ‘COVID-19: Cancer mortality could rise at least 20% because of pandemic’, (BMJ). In an attempt to reduce this number back to pre-pandemic times, there is a great importance on the education surrounding signs and symptoms of the three most common cancers, breast, bowel, and lung. Knowing the symptoms of these cancers are imperative for every individuals to catch cancer early and increase chances of survival.
Breast Cancer Symptoms, (NHS)
- a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- a discharge of fluid from either of your nipples
- a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
Bowel Cancer Symptoms, (Bowel Cancer UK)
- Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
- A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or lump in your tummy
Lung Cancer Symptoms, (Cancer.org)
- A cough that does not go away or gets worse
- Coughing up blood or rust-coloured sputum (spit or phlegm)
- Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
- Loss of appetite
If you, your friends or family have any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek advice from a medical professional or doctor as soon as possible as ‘cancer survival rates three times higher with early diagnosis’, (The Guardian). Testing for cancers is of the upmost importance if you are high risk group or have any cancerous symptoms.
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