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Charity urges people to contact GPs as normal with possible cancer symptoms during pandemic

The Irish Cancer Society is worried that people are “putting their lives at risk” by not visiting GPs over symptoms.
Apr 5th 2020, 2:13 PM 17,288 38

PEOPLE ARE BEING urged by the Irish Cancer Society to contact their GPs as normal if they notice cancer symptoms during this time. 

The charity is worried that people are “putting their lives at risk” over a reluctance to seek medical help due to the pressure on the healthcare system caused by Covid-19. 

CEO of the charity Averil Power said people should contact their GP if they notice “unexplained, persistent or unusual changes” in their body such as a lump, a pain that doesn’t go away, unexpected weight loss or unexpected bleeding. 

“Please contact your GP if you are worried that you may be showing a sign or a symptom of cancer. Please don’t be afraid or embarrassed to do this – when it comes to cancer early detection is key,” Power said.

“GPs, and in an emergency situation hospital emergency departments, are available to care for people when they are unwell.

“Cancer will not stop during coronavirus and it is so important that people continue to be aware of the signs and symptoms and act on any concerns they have,” she said.

During the week, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan urged people who have symptoms outside of those linked to Covid-19 to contact their GP and to not avoid the hospital for fear of contracting the disease. 

He spoke after he himself was admitted to hospital on Wednesday when he began to feel unwell. His admission was not related to Covid-19.  

Dr Denis McCauley, chair of the Irish Medical Organisation’s (IMO) GP Committee said that GP surgeries are open for all patients.

“Covid-19 may be taking the headlines but normal pathologies must not be ignored. If you are suffering from or worried about any health issues, contact your GP. As with any pathology, early detection of cancer is vital. If you have any symptoms, please phone your GP immediately,” he said. 

For people who would like to speak to a cancer nurse, the Irish Cancer Society’s cancer nurse line is available seven days a week by calling freephone 1800 200 700 or visiting the website

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