Back to news

Don't let the fear of cancer put you off screening

WorldCancerDay-Lewisham2019.pngLewisham residents are being urged to put aside their fears and 'get tested' to help the fight against cancer.

Ahead of World Cancer Day (Monday, 4 February 2019), GPs in the borough are stressing the importance of early stage detection, screening, and diagnosis. Getting an early diagnosis can significantly improve cancer patients' chances of survival.

Last year, a report found that cancer is the most feared disease in the country. However, that one in four people admitted they would not seek medical attention after discovering a potential cancer symptom for fear of what the diagnosis would be[1].

When a cancer is detected at an early stage – and treated – the chance of survival beyond five years is far higher than when detected at a later stage when the tumour has spread.

In Lewisham, 52 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stages 1 or 2[2]  meaning patients can have more effective treatment and increase their chance of survival.

Dr Esther Appleby, local GP and Clinical Lead for Cancer at NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

'If you are concerned that you have symptoms that could be due to cancer it's so important to discuss them with your GP as soon as you can. The earlier cancers are diagnosed the more effectively they can be treated and the outcomes are far better. This is why we have the Breast Bowel and Cervical Screening programs. Don't ignore your invitation when it arrives! If you have any concerns or questions your GP or Practice nurse would be happy to discuss them with you. We are here to support you.'

Globally, five million patients[3] could have improved their quality of life and chances of survival if their cancer had been detected sooner, with men being particularly bad at not taking action when recognising cancerous symptoms. 

Further advice on symptoms of cancer can be found at

We are pleased to be working with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) on all of our World Cancer Day promotions.