How to Self Advocate

What's this about?

This guide explains your role in the process of being diagnosed with cancer – or in fact any illness. It explains what you can do to be your own advocate and speed your diagnosis along.

The NHS needs you to take a more active role in your health – and championing yourself is important for you too!

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What’s the issue? 

When the NHS was first founded, a letter was sent to every household explaining what people could expect from the NHS. It detailed how its services work.

Nowadays, the process of treatment and diagnosis is a lot less clear.

It’s not always as easy as turning up at your GP surgery, explaining your symptoms, and being referred to hospital to rule out more sinister causes.

In fact, less than half the people diagnosed with cancer are referred quickly along the ‘cancer pathway’, which ensures you see a specialist within two weeks (Public Health England research). People often feel lost in the system and reluctant to bother busy doctors.

This has been made worse by the pandemic. 

We all know the sooner you are diagnosed with cancer, the sooner treatment can start. From there, the better your chance of the best possible outcome.

So let's get the ball rolling.

Read on for steps, guidance and advice from others who've experienced diagnosis...