Q. Is attending hospital for my appointment for suspected cancer going to be safe?

A. All hospitals across our region want to reassure people that it is safe to attend cancer appointments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

People who are being tested or treated for cancer are being urged to keep their appointments. New measures are in place to help protect patients and staff from coronavirus. It is important to not delay cancer treatment.

Cancer assessment and treatments are still happening during the pandemic. New innovations such as video consultation, reviewing photographs of skin lesions and arranging urgent tests are helping the recovery process. Meanwhile, specialised surgical hubs are helping to ensure patients receive safe and timely operations for cancer.

We understand many people with cancer are anxious about the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their treatment and care. Cancer specialists and local teams throughout the NHS are working together to ensure that cancer services can be delivered as safely as possible. Cancer services are still available, and the NHS is here for you.

More generally it is important to stress that hospitals are safe environments and the earlier that patients come to hospital, the better the chances we have of treating their symptoms.

For anyone coming in for surgery there are a number of extra measures now in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff. The cleaning regimes in hospitals have been enhanced even further and infection prevention precautions have been escalated, while staff are also now being swabbed on a regular basis themselves to ensure they do not have the virus.

Q. I’m quite depressed and worried all the time since the pandemic started, I think I need some help?

A. If you’ve been struggling during the lockdown, there is help out there.

Big White Wall has supported thousands of people across the region over the past few years, but as of 5 August 2020 it is now known as Togetherall.

And while thousands of local people were urged to stay at home to protect their physical health due to COVID-19, it is understandable many may struggle with their mental health as a result.

Therefore, mental health leads across Lancashire and South Cumbria are encouraging residents to use free resources such as Togetherall.

Togetherall, which is available at togetherall.com, provides a clinically safe and anonymous online community providing peer to peer support, personal assessments, and self-help courses for those who need it.

Togetherall is constantly monitored by ‘wall guides’ who are on hand 24/7 and will intervene if members seem particularly low and at-risk and provide personal support on a one-to-one basis. Togetherall also offers members the opportunity to take online tests to measure their anxiety or depression levels to set goals and track their progress. Online courses with health professionals covering things like sleep problems, stopping smoking and anger management are also available.

For more information or to sign up to Togetherall quickly, anonymously and free of charge, visit the website.