‘Come and talk to us if you have any health concerns’ – Dr Alan Stout

“My name is Doctor Alan Stout and I have been a GP for 12 years.

“Working as a GP, one of the most common things we hear when patients come in is that they don’t want to bother us or that they feel they are wasting our time.

“Some people and especially men can be reluctant to see their doctor. This might be because they are embarrassed about where something is on their body or worried about what tests might show.

“The doctor will always make you feel comfortable and encourage you to talk about your symptoms.

“In my experience, the earlier things can be picked up, the earlier people can be reassured and can move forward.

“Cancer is a common condition and will affect more than one in three of us in our lifetimes. It is therefore very important to be aware of cancer and its causes and its symptoms.

“It is important to know about the signs and symptoms of cancer and what we can do to help prevent it. There are also a lot of great screening programmes that are important in the early detection and prevention of cancer.

“Here are some of the common signs and symptoms you should ask your doctor to check out.

  • a change in bowel habit that lasts for more than six weeks;
  • coughing up blood;
  • blood in urine or mixed through bowel motion (stools);
  • unexplained, significant weight loss;
  • a lump anywhere on your body;
  • changes on your skin or to an existing mole (such as itching, bleeding or a change in shape or colour);
  • a sore that doesn’t heal;
  • Symptoms that refuse to clear up, eg a cough or hoarseness that lasts for more than three weeks.

“Remember these signs and symptoms don’t necessarily mean you’ve got cancer, but it is important to get them checked to ensure that nothing is wrong.

“So please remember, if you do have any concerns, speak to your doctor.

“You are certainly not wasting anyone’s time and if tests come back as normal, your mind will be put at ease.

“In my experience, the earlier it is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment.

“So if you are worried at all, please come and see us.”