Clinical opinions / 23 Oct, 2020

GP and screening service visits now more important than ever

Prof John Boyages AM

In September 2020 Cancer Australia reported a significant fall in cancer diagnosis and treatment procedures delivered by Australian service providers during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating thousands of cancer cases may remain undetected.

Icon Cancer Centre are very concerned by these findings, as we know patients’ cancer survival outcomes are a result of early cancer diagnosis through Australia’s exceptional GP network and screening services.

Safety measures

Many people have had concerns about seeing a GP or screening service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but rest assured, they are very safe.

Health professionals are doing all they can to ensure the safety of their patients, and healthcare settings are putting strict measures in place to reduce the risk of infection and ensure patients are protected. These include:

  • Assessing the patient’s risk of COVID-19 before face-to-face contact occurs, and then use PPE as appropriate for the risk and setting
  • Practising and encouraging good hand hygiene — washing hands before and after putting on PPE or contact with the patient
  • Providing patients with a surgical mask to prevent risk of COVID-19 transmission
  • Following physical distancing guidance, maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from the patient where possible
  • Regularly cleaning the environment and equipment

Do not ignore any symptoms – early detection can make all the difference. If something isn’t quite right contact your GP for a check-up, and continue your regular routine screening regardless of symptoms.

It is vital to stay on top of your medical concerns now more than ever.

Professor John Boyages AM is a Radiation Oncologist at Icon Wahroonga and Icon Gosford.

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