Cancer time bomb: 50,000 patients feared missing a diagnosis during the Covid pandemic

Cancer time bomb: 50,000 patients feared missed diagnosis during Covid pandemic, study shows

  • The study says that about 50,000 patients were not diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic
  • Charity Macmillan claims the figure proves the NHS is struggling to catch up
  • The NHS insists cancer diagnosis and treatment go back to pre-pandemic levels

A new study has revealed that the NHS is facing a temporary cancer bombshell because an estimated 50,000 patients have missed a diagnosis during the pandemic.

Macmillan Cancer Support has warned that the health service is ill-equipped to handle the backlog.

The charity’s analysis showed that 47,000 fewer people were diagnosed with cancer in England in the past 18 months than would normally be expected.

More than 24,000 of those who started treatment had to wait a long time after being diagnosed.

Macmillan said the numbers show the NHS is already struggling to keep up with the current number of cancer cases. She said she was “deeply concerned” about how services would handle when “missing” patients come forward.

A study by Macmillan Cancer Support claims nearly 50,000 patients have missed a diagnosis during the pandemic

“Nearly two years into the epidemic, there is still a mountain of nearly 50,000 people missing a cancer diagnosis,” said Stephen McIntosh of Macmillan.

“Cancer diagnoses and treatment numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels since the spring,” the NHS said.

Macmillan said the NHS has made some progress in tackling the build-up of cancer over the summer, but that appears to have already stalled.

She fears that a spike in Covid cases over the winter will further disrupt cancer services and increase the number of missed diagnoses.

Prostate cancer saw the biggest drop in diagnoses, with confirmed cases in England down by about a quarter (23 per cent) compared to pre-Covid forecasts.

The next most affected types of cancer are multiple myeloma (14 percent lower), melanoma (13 percent), lymphocytic leukemia (12 percent) and breast cancer (12 percent).

Macmillan is particularly concerned about breast cancer diagnoses as figures show that women are diagnosed at a later stage, when the disease is more difficult to treat.

The number diagnosed early – in stage 1 or 2 – was below pre-pandemic levels, while the number diagnosed at late stage 4 was above average.

“We are receiving an increasing number of calls from people who need help or advice after experiencing delays in their diagnosis due to issues related to Covid-19 or because they” have reached out to their clinical team to obtain None of the questions they answered.

People are often very concerned about how delays will affect their diagnosis or treatment options, with many feeling that their chances of survival are being affected by the enormous pressures on the NHS.


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