Health checks, screening and cancer patient advice as restrictions ease
By Cancer Council NSW
Cancer Council NSW is encouraging everyone to stay vigilant with regular health check-ups through isolation and as government restrictions start to ease.
Australians have done the right thing and only left the house when absolutely necessary, but what we don’t want to see is this causing a delay in the early detection of cancers.
Healthcare organisations and professional bodies across the country are seeing early reports of a significant decrease in referrals for people with newly diagnosed cancers. This is a real cause for concern as treatment can be more effective when cancer is diagnosed early and for some people, a delayed diagnosis could result in poorer outcomes.
If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms that you are worried about, please contact your health professional. GP offices and healthcare centres are taking all precautions to ensure they are safe to visit.
The same advice goes for cancer screening, now is not the time to delay your test. The national cervical and bowel cancer screening programs have continued through the pandemic and BreastScreen NSW has now resumed services. We are urging eligible Australians to participate when their screening invitation or reminder letters arrive in the mail. What better time to take your bowel screening test that’s been lying in a drawer for months (just check it hasn’t expired) or to go see your GP about that cervical screening test you’ve been putting off?
If you have found yourself with some free time during isolation, invest it in the most important thing right now – your health.
As restrictions start to ease, cancer patients and carers may be feeling uncertain about what this means for them. If your immune system is compromised, then it is likely you will need to continue to self-isolate as much as possible. If you want to see family and friends, again this is a personal decision, that should be based on your individual risk and how at risk your friends and family might be of being exposed to COVID-19.
To get the best advice on all these matters as government restrictions change, we recommend you speak to your treatment team who will be able to help you to remain safe throughout COVID-19.
If your treating team inform you that you do not need to continue self-isolating, following the government’s recommendations will still be essential in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We also recommend everyone downloads the COVIDSafe app.
Anyone with questions about cancer screening, the importance of maintaining regular health checks or any other questions about cancer please call our 13 11 20 Information and Support Line from 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday to speak with one of our health professionals or email firstname.lastname@example.org.