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Covid could lead to a drop in cancer survival, expert warns



Covid could lead to a drop in cancer survival

The NHSis former cancer director is concerned that England could see its first decline in survivability in decades, due to the coronavirus pandemic.


In England, 60 percent fewer patients with suspected cancer were seen in April, compared to the same month in 2019.

Speak with BBC Political EastProfessor Sir Mike Richards said the drop “will have an impact on cancer survival rates”.

NHS England said that while some people were advised against getting themselves checked, the official message from the NHS was “don’t delay”.

Meanwhile, official figures revealed the number of people with cancer in Scotland drastically decreased due to the first coronavirus Lockdown.


Survival rates ‘may fall’

File photo dated 03/10/14 of a hospital ward.  Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 5,000 more people have died from heart problems than would be expected, a charity has warned.  PA photo.  Release date: Saturday, November 14, 2020. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) told PA news agency that there are 4,622
In England, 60 percent fewer patients with suspected cancer were seen in April compared to the same month in 2019 (Photo: Peter Byrne/PA)

Sir Mike was National Cancer Director in the… Ministry of Health between 1999 and 2013 and believes it is too early to determine what the overall impact will be on cancer survival.

However, he explained that cancer survival rates in this country have improved annually for the past 40 years.

He said: “Obviously there is a concern that may ease again in the year 2020. But we won’t know for a while.

“We know that cancer has been hit hard during the pandemic. Once the first wave hit, patients did not come to their primary care physician and were not referred to hospitals.

“Diagnostic services were also affected. The operation was much more difficult.

“Things have been picked up ever since. Instead of the steady increase we’ve seen, we may see some decline.”


Fear of contracting the coronavirus

Sir Mike said cancer is most common in older age groups, but people over 65 in particular were particularly reluctant to see their GP at the start of the outbreak for fear of getting caught. COVID-19.

also in Scotland, during the initial shutdown, a report from Public Health Scotland said it was likely some people with possible symptoms of cancer had not approached their GP because they were “worried about getting Covid-19” by going to appointments.

Last week, Cancer Research UK reported a worrying decline in the number of people referred for lung cancer testing in Wales.

Michelle Mitchell, CEO of Cancer Research UK, said: “We can’t wait for the pandemic to be over. With each passing moment, a wave of undiagnosed cancers builds up.”

Sir Mike, however, praised the way the NHS recovered from the first wave and said it had “did an amazing job”, with the latest data showing cancer services were returning to normal.

He said: “At least in this country we are lagging behind other countries in our cancer survival rates, so there is a lot of catching up to do.


“A lot of that is about making sure patients can be diagnosed earlier.”

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