GP ​sheds light on range of services to curb cancer rates in Redbridge

Dr Mathukia. Photo: NHS

Dr Mathukia. Photo: NHS - Credit: Archant

From free gym sessions to community discussions, specialist GPs are offering a range of services to help residents detect, battle and defeat cancer.

Dr Mathukia. Photo: NHS

Dr Mathukia. Photo: NHS - Credit: Archant

Cancer is a leading cause of preventable death in Redbridge, council figures reveal, with lung, bowel and breast cancer among the top ten causes.

The Recorder spoke with Dr Vaibhav Mathukia, a specialist GP funded by cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support, about what is being done to address the prevalence of cancer in the borough.

His family-run Mathukia Surgery, in Ilford Lane, has served Redbridge residents for more than 20 years, Vaibhav working there for the last five.

“The early detection of cancer is important,” he said.

“There are two aspects to it - patient awareness and colleague awareness.”

To improve patient awareness, Vaibhav and his colleague Dr Jane Burt are giving talks to volunteer groups on recognising cancer symptoms.

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“We try to target persons who might not be aware of what the symptoms are and what services are available.”

A report in last week’s Recorder highlighted that 40pc of women in Redbridge aged 25 to 49 are not attending smear tests when invited.

When asked why screening rates are lower in Redbridge than nationally, he said: “Perhaps due to Redbridge’s population and ethnic diversity, some people are not aware of our screening programme.”

GPs are also receiving talks from cancer specialists to “refresh” their ability to detect signs of cancer at an early stage.

For those living with cancer, services are also available to improve their quality of life, he explained.

Through the exercise referral scheme, GPs can issue those battling cancer with 12 weeks of free gym sessions.

Vaibhav and his colleagues are also hold health and wellbeing talks, speaking to cancer sufferers among community and religious groups.

“I think people used to think that once they were discharged that was the end of their journey,” he said.

“But through these talks we aim to help people know it is the beginning of the journey and they are not alone.”

For more information on what support is available: