Patients have been urged to seek help for cancer symptoms as new research revealed that nearly half of the public have concerns about seeking help during the coronavirus pandemic. 

There has been a sharp drop in cancer referrals after one in 10 people said they would not contact their GP even if they had a lump or a new mole which did not go away after a week, the survey found.

Getting coronavirus or giving it to their family were among the top reasons that people would not come forward when they have cancer symptoms along with fears that they could be a burden to the health service.

Professor Peter Johnson, the NHS clinical director for cancer, stressed that NHS staff had worked hard to make sure people can get cancer checks and treatment safely so there is no need to delay.

Waiting to get help could have serious consequences for patients 

A major public information campaign launched last week to encourage people to contact their GP or 111 if they have urgent care needs and to attend hospital if they are told they should.

Virus protected hubs are up and running in 19 areas of the country to date so people can have their operation safely with thousands of patients already having treatment through a hub.

Professor Johnson added: “The wishes of patients and their families will always come first, and we have to make sure that people feel safe coming to hospitals, but my message is clear: people should seek help as they always would.

“We know that finding cancer early gives us the best chance to cure it, and ignoring potential problems can have serious consequences now or in the future.”