NHS launch their new Help Us, Help You campaign
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Dr Hilary Jones, 67, has spoken out on a new project he has embarked on away from his presenting work on ITV. The general practitioner explained that although working on shows including Good Morning Britain has been “a blast” for him, he recently sought solace in the process of writing his first novel, which is entitled Frontline.
Sharing details about new career move, Dr Hilary said in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk: “ITV and I have worked together for 32 years and it’s been a blast.
“We’ve covered some fantastic campaigns, like the Help Us, Help You one, and other cancer campaigns, heart campaigns, spotting the early signs of meningitis, cot death.
“And we’ve had many letters as a TV station saying, ‘Thank you for making us aware of the symptoms of prostate disease or breast cancer, you’re instrumental in saving a life.’
“So that’s been great, and I’ll continue with ITV for as long as it’s fascinating and interesting and fun.
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“And I’ve got a lovely project that I’m looking forward to in addition, which is my first novel coming up in September with Welbeck Publishing.”
He added: “It’s called Frontline and it charts the rises of a prominent medical family in the 20th century during times of pandemics and war and that’s going to be the first of a series, so I’m really enthusiastic and excited about that.”
Dr Hilary went on to explain that writing the book offered him some escapism from covering upsetting Covid updates on GMB.
He continued: “I really got so involved in it – in a way it was a release from what I do in my day job, talking about the pandemic.
“I just needed to do something creative and remote from just talking wall to wall pandemic.
“So I started writing it and really loved the process and it’s been a thrill.”
Due to his positive experience with writing in his spare time, Dr Hilary revealed he has been encouraging others to keep themselves busy during lockdown.
The star added: “I’ve been encouraging people to do all sorts of things to keep themselves busy, whether it’s learning a language, or catching up on a series they haven’t seen, or listening to music, or writing books.
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“And that’s what I chose to do.”
Dr Hilary has also put his support behind NHS England and Public Health England’s new lung cancer awareness Help Us, Help You campaign.
The campaign launch follows new research that reveals 49 per cent of the public aren’t aware that a cough lasting three weeks or more could be a sign of cancer, while 61 per cent say that they wouldn’t make an appointment with their GP if they had this symptom, which wasn’t COVID-19.
Speaking about the situation, Dr Hilary said: “I think a lot of people make assumptions about symptoms and health and yes, of course, everyone’s been so focused on the pandemic for the last year that people are completely focused on that.
“But of course the other conditions, sometimes the serious ones, don’t go away – they’re still there, and every year there are 39,300 people diagnosed with lung cancer in England and the symptoms often overlap.
“So a persistent cough for more than three weeks is also a symptom of lung cancer as it is with COVID-19, so it’s important that we tell people that if it’s not COVID-19, then that’s a serious symptom that needs to be urgently investigated.”
Reassuring patients, he added: “GP surgeries are open for business and there are Covid secure environments where you can go and be assessed and cancer treatment goes on uninterrupted, even during the pandemic.
“I think there’s a perception at the moment that cancer treatment has all but stopped and that people are missing out. The good news is that between March and December last year, when the pandemic was raging, cancer services were maintained pretty much as normal.”
Visit nhs.uk/cancersymptoms for more information.
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