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The UK has 50,000 ‘missing’ cancer diagnoses – could you be overlooking your own symptoms?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a ‘catastrophic’ impact on cancer referrals across the UK. Moving forward, how can we reduce our risk and ensure symptoms are caught early enough for successful treatment? by Paula Pereira | Wednesday 12th May 2021

Throughout Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Medicash are providing a series of blogs raising awareness of this all-too common cancer and how our partnership with SkinVision can eliminate the unnecessary worries of waiting for a diagnosis.

Macmillan estimates that across the UK there are currently around 50,000 ‘missing diagnoses’ – meaning that compared to a similar time frame last year, 50,000 fewer people have been diagnosed with cancer.

As well as the rapid decrease in diagnoses, a cancer ‘backlog’ has also been created throughout the NHS with a total of 4million people currently waiting to begin treatment – the largest figure since records began. Official figures also showed a third fewer cancers were detected at stage one, when the chances of survival are highest, in the early months of the pandemic than during the same months a year before.

Skin cancer has been one of the worst affected, with a 68% drop in diagnosis from March – June 2020. The concern is that while there is a significant drop in the number of people seeing their GP, cases of skin cancer are continuing to increase at a rapid rate. Research from Melanoma UK found that 21% of melanomas had been missed during the pandemic, sparking fears that many will only be treated once the cancer has already progressed to the later stages.

Melanoma skin cancer has a higher mortality rate and the incidence of malignant melanoma in Britain has risen faster than any other common cancer. In fact, over the last decade the number of people diagnosed with melanoma in the UK has increased by almost half.

Non-melanoma skin cancers, like Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma, are also some of the most common cancers in the UK, with more than 410 new cases reported every day. The UK has the fastest growing rate of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Europe, with 400,000 annual cases expected by 2025.

These drastic statistics mean it’s more important than ever to check your skin regularly for any irregularities and refer yourself to a GP as soon as you spot something concerning.

The SkinVision App, available free to all Medicash corporate policyholders, is a quick and easy way to track the appearance of moles on your body. Simply take a photo of the skin spot or mole with your smartphone and receive a risk indication within 30 seconds. Your photos will be stored within the app so that you can keep track of changes over time, helping you to monitor changes in the long term.

With early detection being key to the treatment of melanomas and other skin cancers, SkinVision provides in-app reminders, body mapping and 95% accurate AI smartcheck assessments to help people to seek care when they need it. 

Don’t let the pandemic delay your route to treatment, stay on top of your symptoms and refer yourself to a GP as early as possible with the assistance of SkinVision.

To access this free, new service from Medicash, policyholders just need to follow the link from within their current My Medicash App.

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