One in three delayed GP visit due to coronavirus fears as medics warn of cancer time bomb

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One in three people say they have been pushed back from visiting their GP due to coronavirus fears – as doctors warn of a cancer time bomb.

A survey of 1,004 Britons found that 38% would delay a doctor’s visit due to pandemic fears.

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Poll of 1,004 Britons found 38% said they would postpone doctor’s visit due to coronavirus fears
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Many Britons say they have postponed doctor’s visit due to coronavirus fears (stock image)Credit: Rex Features

The survey, carried out by the Daily Mail, also found that nearly two-thirds of people who needed to see a GP since April 1 were unable to secure a face-to-face appointment, being offered a a phone or video call instead.

Additionally, 65 percent said they were concerned about phone or video appointments, which meant doctors would miss serious illnesses like cancer.

Just over 30 percent of respondents said that since April 1, they had postponed their attempt to see a general practitioner for a condition for which they usually went to the doctor.

Nearly six in 10 people said they feared they might have to have surgery if they or their families fell ill during the winter.

Cancer Research UK Executive Director for Policy and Information Sarah Woolnough said: “It is worrying that many people have postponed their visits to their GPs or have struggled to secure an appointment.

“We urge anyone who has noticed a change in their health or who has a symptom that worries them to contact their GP and come for whatever tests their doctor deems necessary.

‘DIRECT WARNING’

Earlier this month, Cancer Research UK said lung cancer was a ‘forgotten disease’ during the pandemic – with benchmarks still 39 percent below pre-lockout levels.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment can prove fatal if the cancer grows and spreads to the point of becoming incurable.

The charity said the numbers are a “terrible warning” of the hundreds of lives that could be lost, with a “devastating” impact on families.

Cancer Research UK is now urging people to come for tests.

He believes government advice asking Britons to stay home if they have a new, continuous cough has deterred many from seeking help.

About 44% of general practitioners said fewer people visit them for coughing or suffering from breathing problems, which are symptoms of lung cancer.

And 45 percent had trouble accessing chest x-rays that help diagnose the disease, according to a survey of 1,000 family physicians.

Staff needing to isolate or protect and appointments replacing walk-in sessions are believed to have contributed to the problem.

Hospital admissions for seven of the most serious non-coronavirus illnesses fell by 173,000 during the lockdown, NHS data revealed.

There were almost 6,000 fewer heart attack admissions in March and April compared to last year – and nearly 137,000 fewer cancer admissions from March to June.

Health experts warn that this could have resulted in the death of many patients or in long-term damage.

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