Former Leeds Mayor urges Leeds residents to seek medical care when needed

Councillor Jane Dowson, a former Mayor of Leeds from 2017 – 2018, who has recently been diagnosed with endometrial cancer, is encouraging Leeds residents to seek medical care if they notice anything unusual about their body or any ongoing health concerns.

Councillor Dowson with husband Alan Bellhouse

Councillor Dowson, said: “My plea to Leeds residents would be if you notice anything unusual about your body, please contact your GP practice, as this could be an early sign of cancer.

“During lockdown my right ankle started to swell up, so I rang my GP who did a video consultation and prescribed me antibiotics. When I was taking the tablets, I thought I was experiencing a side effect so read the patient information that came with the medication and realised what I was experiencing wasn’t listed. When I mentioned this to my GP, he sent me for an ultrasound at Wharfedale General Hospital which indicated there was an issue that needed further investigation. I had a hysteroscopy at St James’s Hospital where I was later diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

“If you notice something isn’t right with your body but are worried about catching coronavirus if you need to go to hospital, please don’t be. People who have coronavirus are seen at a separate part of the hospital, you’ll be seen in a safe and low risk environment. Or, if you’re putting off getting advice about your symptoms because you’re worried about taking up time of your GP or hospital staff, you’re not wasting anyone’s time. The NHS is here for you and getting an early diagnosis gives you a better chance of survival.”

Dr Sarah Forbes, GP in Leeds and Clinical Lead for Cancer at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s really important that you see your GP as soon as possible if you feel something doesn’t feel right with your body. Some of the obvious cancer symptoms include a lump in the breast, changes in bowel habits, blood in your pee or poo, unexplained weight loss, moles that appear to change or cough that you’ve had for three weeks or more.

“The way you access your GP has changed but we’re still here for you and can help with any health concerns you may have.”

Help the local NHS by backing ‘Your NHS is still here for you’ campaign ( This reminds local people to seek medical care when they need it, particularly for life changing and life threatening illnesses. Support the campaign on social media by following @NHSLeeds on Twitter, or nhsleeds on Instagram to share the #NHSHereForYou messages.


Notes to editor

For media enquiries please contact:

Issued by the communications team at NHS Leeds CCG. You can contact the team on 0113 84 35528 or 0113 84 35470. Alternatively, please email us: [email protected]