Cancer symptoms: 5.1 million patients on 'enormous' backlog, admits NHS Medical Director

Appearing on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Professor Powis acknowledged 5.1 million people are currently on the NHS waiting list. This was “inevitable”, he said, as services were disrupted by the pandemic. However, Professor Powis is adamant that NHS staff are “ahead of where we thought we’d be” when it comes to whittling down the list. This is thanks to innovative ways of working, such as robotic surgery.

“It’s important to speak to a GP so they can investigate,” the NHS added.

GPs can be contacted via their website, on the NHS app, or by calling them.

Following an appointment with your GP – whether virtually or in person – if cancer is suspected, you’ll be referred to a specialist.

This process usually takes place within a fortnight, although it could be much quicker or a bit longer.

Cancer Research UK added other changes you should tell your doctor about. This includes:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Heavy night sweats
  • Unexplained pain or ache
  • Sores that won’t heal
  • Changes to a mole.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a condition whereby cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably, amassing into a tumour.

The cancerous cells can destroy healthy tissue nearby, including organs.

If the cancerous tumour spreads to another part of the body, this is known as metastasis.

“One in two people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime,” the NHS warned.

The four most common types of cancer are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Bowel cancer.

Making simple lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer.

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This includes regular exercise, not smoking and eating a healthy diet.


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