NHS campaign focusing on cancer symptoms

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Today, NHS England and NHS Improvement, with support from Public Health England, are launching the ‘Cancer: Abdominal and Urological Symptoms’ phase of the ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign.

The campaign encourages anyone who has had tummy troubles such as discomfort or diarrhoea for three weeks or more, or seen blood in their pee - even just once, to contact their GP practice.

Persistent tummy troubles can be signs of a number of cancers, including bowel, ovarian or pancreatic cancer, and blood in pee - even just once, can be a sign of urological cancers, including bladder or kidney cancer.

The latest annual data shows that around 142,000 people were diagnosed with cancers in the abdominal area or urological cancers in England but people who are suffering with symptoms may be reluctant to visit their GP; they may be 8 embarrassed about their symptoms, or concerned that they might be wasting their doctor’s time, or they may just put their symptoms down to getting older.

In addition, people may be concerned that they will be a burden to the NHS who are also dealing with COVID-19.

The campaign reminds people that the NHS wants to see them. While it’s probably nothing serious, any of these symptoms could be a sign of something that needs treatment.

If it is cancer, finding it early makes it more treatable and can save lives.

  • If you’ve had tummy troubles for three weeks or more, tell your GP – they will want to see you and you won’t be wasting their time
  • Persistent tummy troubles that can be possible signs of cancer include:
    • Diarrhoea
    • Being bloated most days
    • Discomfort in the tummy area
    • Constipation
    • Nausea/feeling sick
    • Blood in your poo
  • If you have any of these for three weeks or more, tell your GP. You should also speak to your GP if you notice any other unusual changes such as a lump in the tummy area, post-menopausal bleeding, abnormal vaginal bleeding or unexplained weight loss, as these can also be signs of cancer.
  • Blood in your pee - even just once, can be a sign of cancer and you need to tell your GP. Also let them know if you notice changes like sudden urges to pee or needing to go more often

Visit nhs.uk/cancer symptoms for more information.