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Chair's blog

Catching cancer early saves lives

17 March 2016

We at Redbridge CCG are lucky to have a local star among our ranks: Dr Jyoti Sood, GP at Newbury Group Practice in Ilford and our clinical lead for patient and public engagement, is one of the faces of NHS England’s national Be Clear on Cancer campaign, which re-launched recently.

The campaign focuses on some specific cancers and lists the warning signs that you should be on the alert for, with the message that you should make an appointment to see your GP if you have noticed any of the following things:

  • blood in your pee
  • heartburn for three weeks or more
  • a cough that lasts three weeks or more
  • changes to a mole or freckle
  • changes to your breasts if you’re over 70
  • feeling bloated for three weeks or more.

All of the above may seem innocent at first and you may be tempted to wait and see if they improve, but they could be early signs of cancer. It is a proven fact that the earlier cancer is spotted, the sooner treatment can be started and the greater your chance of making a full recovery, so don’t take the risk if you experience any of these things – contact your GP.

We are extremely proud of Jyoti, who has a very personal reason for her involvement with this campaign – her own grandfather sadly died of kidney cancer a very short time after being diagnosed, and perhaps things could have turned out differently if he had spoken to a doctor as soon as he noticed something different.

So while Jyoti’s particular message – if you see blood in your pee, even if it is only the once, speak to your GP about it – may not be something most people want to think about, it is not something that should ever be ignored. As a GP I would rather have 10 patients come to see me the first time they see blood, than have just one patient put off visiting the surgery until it is too late.

I would encourage you to take the time to visit the Be Clear on Cancer website and get familiar with the advice, as it could one day save your life or the life of someone you love. And if you want to find out more about Jyoti’s story, you can watch this video interview with her.