Northamptonshire doctor responds to enquiries following Princess of Wales announcement

Following the Princess of Wales’ announcement on Friday, Three Shires hospital has seen an increase in enquiries from patients looking for information, tests and scans to spot cancers. The Northampton based hospital is offering schools, colleges and community organisations free resources to help improve local awareness of the disease.
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Dr Craig Knighton, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Clinical Lead at the hospital, said: “The Princess of Wales’ courageous decision to speak out about her condition has clearly prompted many people concerned about symptoms to seek medical advice.

“The key thing for local people to hear is that help is available, and as Her Royal Highness so powerfully stated: ‘you are not alone.’ If you have any niggling symptoms, it’s always best to get them checked as early as possible: don’t put off seeking help and advice.”

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Common symptoms can include coughing, chest pain, breathlessness, bloating, bleeding, lumps, unexplained weight loss, stomach or back pain and changes in bowel habits.

Dr Knighton continued: “Cancer has never been more treatable, and survival rates for most cancers are at an all time high, but early diagnosis is essential. I recommend early checks to all my patients, but anyone with specific concerns should seek a GP appointment and referral for tests and scans without delay.”

According to data collected by Cancer Research UK, an estimated 1.19 million cancer deaths have been avoided in the UK (2021) by advances in care alongside early checks.

Dr Knighton believes that improvements not only in treatments, but greater awareness of symptoms has played an instrumental rise in this reduction.

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He said: “Since it’s peak in the 1980s, medical research and breakthroughs in treatments have given us the edge when it comes to treating this awful disease. However, the earlier we can detect it, the stronger the chance of getting a patient onto a course treatment which gives them a better chance of beating it.”

He finished by saying that “The Princess of Wales’ message is an example to us all, that when we talk about the disease and share information about treatments and symptoms, the better we are at supporting those affected. The more opportunities we have to share information the more confident people will feel about coming forward earlier to get their symptoms checked.”

“I have no doubt that Her Royal Highness’s to speak openly about her diagnosis will save many lives in the future.”