Dr Colum Farrelly GP explains why it is important to be cancer aware

Why should people go to their doctor if they notice any unusual changes to their body?

If people notice something unusual with their body like lumps or bleeding that they can’t really explain, it’s important to get to your doctor early so that if it is something serious treatment can be started sooner rather than later and therefore be much more successful. Or if it isn’t anything serious then they can be reassured much more readily.

How have cancer treatments and survival rates changed during your time as a GP?

Over my time as a GP, there have been dramatic changes and improvements in the treatments of cancers. There’s much greater success and life expectancy is much better now than it used to be. The most important thing is the early detection of the cancer so that treatment can start earlier and be even more successful.

What’s your advice to anyone worried about cancer symptoms?

First it’s important to come and see your doctor sooner rather than later if you notice abnormalities in your body like lumps or bumps that you’re not used to or if there’s bleeding that you can’t explain. The reason is that if those indicate serious disease like a cancer, the treatment can get started sooner rather than later and that way it will be much more successful.

Of course, if it turns out to be nothing you’ll be reassured sooner rather than later and that’s a success as well. People shouldn’t be afraid to come to their doctor because it might not be serious, as you won’t know until you have these things checked.