HC Deb 13 December 1945 vol 417 c597
17. Mr. Somerville Hastings

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that there are about 70,000 deaths annually from cancer and that a large proportion of these only obtain specialist treatment when too late, he will provide lectures for general practitioners on the early recognition of this disease.

Mr. Bevan

The object my hon. Friend has in mind can perhaps be best attained by encouraging early and frequent consultation between general practitioners and specialists in the work of diagnosis and treatment. Organised arrangements for this purpose are now being developed under the Cancer Act, 1939, as far as present circumstances permit.

Mr. Hastings

May I ask the Minister if he is aware that where such lectures have been instituted, they have been much appreciated and well attended by general practitioners?

Mr. Bevan

I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman says and I will direct the attention of the appropriate authorities to his comment.

Colonel Stoddart-Scott

Will the right hon. Gentleman also take steps to instruct the general public with regard to the early signs and symptoms of cancer, as very often when a patient goes to his general practitioner it is then too late for specialist treatment?

Mr. Bevan

Speaking on the impulse of the moment, it would, I think, be extremely dangerous to try to instruct the general public, because you may have a nation of hypochondriacs.