A Wilmslow doctor is calling on the Government to take action to help tackle Britain's "growing cancer emergency" after figures suggest a 17% increase in UK cancer deaths due to delays in diagnosis and treatment.
In a paper published in The Lancet Oncology this week, leading oncologists and doctors are urging Ministers to tackle the situation with same level of focus and urgency as was deployed to roll out the COVID vaccine.
They warn of the danger of the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS not accepting 'the true scale of the problem' and set out their case that this is a defining 'watershed moment' for cancer care as the November NHS data confirmed that 'in the last 12 months, 69,000 patients in the UK have waited longer than the recommended 62-day wait from suspected cancer referral to start of treatment, which is twice as many than in 2017-2018.
The paper also quotes European research which suggests a 17% increase in UK cancer deaths due to delays in diagnosis and treatment and cites statistics showing 'excess cancer deaths since March 2020 are already 8815 with 3327 in the last six months, and this trend is likely to continue'.
Dr Amar Ahmed, General Practitioner based at Wilmslow Health Centre said: "It's very clear that Britain is in the midst of a growing cancer emergency. Just as there was a concerted national effort to tackle the COVID Pandemic, we need a similar national drive to address the declining state of cancer diagnosis and treatment in the UK. Freeing up frontline clinicians from needless box-ticking NHS bureaucracy will go some way to improve the NHS capacity to tackle this emergency."
Founder of the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign and leading oncologist, Professor Pat Price said "This is a watershed moment for UK cancer services - the biggest cancer crisis ever - we can't accept the normalization of record-breaking cancer treatment waiting times. Clinicians know it doesn't need to be this way and that we don't need new groundbreaking research to avert disaster. We need a radical new plan, investment in capacity solutions in treatments like radiotherapy, and the political will to treat more patients on time. If ever there was a time for us to deliver much needed investment into cancer treatment it is now."
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