If you’re worried you may have cancer, the first step is always to consult your GP.
Talking to your doctor
If you’re worried you may have cancer, the first step is always to consult your GP. You may feel that your symptoms are nothing to worry about – and often, they are something much less serious – but your first appointment could make all the difference.
The best outcomes for cancer treatments come from early diagnoses. This means that the cancer has had less time to spread, meaning it affects fewer organs, and gives doctors more treatment options.
How to contact your GP
We understand how difficult it can be to contact your GP, but you should not delay if you notice any changes to your health, no matter how small. To make your appointment booking easier, you should try:
Calling your GP surgery as soon as appointments open in the morning – usually 8am. You may be put into a queue, or some surgeries offer a callback service, which lets you know when you are further down the queue.
Booking your appointments online – some surgeries have apps or online booking services. Again, appointments are on a first come, first served basis, so you should log in at 8am. You can ask your surgery in person for a sign-up form.
Using the ‘telephone first’ approach – the NHS can help you get quicker access if you look up which services you’re signed up for. Some GPs are now running telephone consultations, saving you time on travel, and making things easier for you if you can describe your symptoms.
If you need to speak to a professional out of hours, try calling NHS 111. They may be able to book an appointment on your behalf, or refer you to A&E if they feel it is an emergency. They can also arrange for a doctor to call you back.
Once you’ve seen your GP, he or she may refer you to hospital for further testing, such as a blood test or biopsy. If the doctor thinks your case is cancer, you will be classed as an ‘urgent referral’, which means you should get a hospital appointment within the next two weeks.