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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Warning over fake cancer emails

Doctors in Cumbria have issued a warning over sick emails that give out a fake cancer diagnosis.

Medics are urging people to be on their guard following a spate of spam emails that claim people could be stricken with disease.

The sending of the messages has been a national phenomenon but county doctors are issuing the warning to their own patients after receiving concerned calls from people in Cumbria.

The emails claim to have been sent by NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

But officials say this is a malicious email and has not been sent by NICE, a GP or any other NHS organisation.

NICE is advising people who have received the email – the subject line of which is “important blood analysis result” – to delete it without opening it and not to click on any links.

The fake email states: “Further to your recent blood tests the results of your full blood count have indicated your white blood cells are low which could indicate cancer.”

Dr David Rogers, medical director at NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “A number of patients from different parts of Cumbria have contact their GP practices after receiving this spam email, which has caused concern and distress.

“We would like to confirm to patients across Cumbria that this email is malicious and that NICE are currently investigating where it is coming from and who is responsible.”

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, added: “This email is likely to cause distress to recipients since it advises that test results indicate they may have cancer.

“This malicious email is not from NICE and we are currently investigating its origin. We take this matter very seriously and have reported it to the police.”

It is not clear exactly how many people are affected nationally but based on the high number of calls to the organisation it is thought to be thousands.

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