Health and Wellbeing

5 things you need to know about visiting your GP

Many people are worried about contacting their GP with symptoms during the current coronavirus pandemic and as a result there has been a large drop off in people presenting to their GP or reporting symptoms.

It is important to remember that other diseases like pancreatic cancer have not gone away and the sooner you contact a GP with symptoms, the earlier a possible diagnosis can be made.

What you should know if you are worried:

1. Your safety is a top priority

Although hospitals are currently prioritising the most urgent referrals, presenting with symptoms remains important. The top priority of your GP will be to keep you and other patients safe during this time.

Even if you are nervous about attending a hospital for diagnostic tests, contacting your GP will allow them to follow up on your case and diagnose the cause of your symptoms the safest way possible.  

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

But if you have persistent or worsening symptoms that are not usual for you then you should visit you GP or call NHS 111 to investigate.

2. You may be given an online or phone appointment first

The way that your appointment is managed may change. When you contact the surgery, you may be given a telephone, email or online/video appointment instead of being asked to visit in person

Local GP surgeries are often working together, and if you need to see a GP face to face you may be asked to visit a different practice to your usual.  

3. They will manage your personal risk

Your GP and hospital team can work together with you to decide, based on your personal risk of coronavirus, the best time to carry out diagnostics. That may be urgently, or alternatively, your details may be kept on record so that your case can be followed up later.

If you need diagnostic tests, hospital teams will contact you via telephone to discuss your symptoms with you and what to expect. Although some diagnostic tests such as endoscopy are in the short term unavailable, others such as CT are still running and are helpful in making a diagnosis.   

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, hospital trusts and other organisations will be working together to find the best way of delivering cancer care in your area. 

4. Survival increases significantly if you are diagnosed early

The key to successfully treating and surviving pancreatic cancer is early diagnosis. If the disease can be diagnosed at an early stage, in time for surgery and before the tumour has spread or grown too large, 5-year survival increases from under 8% to over 30%. 

It is therefore very important that you act quickly and contact a medical professional if you have pancreatic cancer symptoms.  

5. We are here for you!

We understand that this is a really scary time, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of pancreatic cancer or are undergoing treatment.

Please know you can contact us with any concerns or questions. Call: 0303 040 1770 or e-mail: healthinfo@panact.org.