Improving delays in cancer diagnosis a huge challenge post-pandemic
February 8, 2022
Figures suggest that there have been 34,000 fewer diagnoses of cancer in England since the start of the pandemic, and 50,000 fewer in the UK. Cancer charities are warning that these delays in cancer diagnosis may reduce the number of people surviving cancer and have warned the government that improving cancer care will be a huge challenge.
Macmillan Cancer Support said given the impact of the pandemic people with cancer needed “support more than ever”.
“We have been sounding the alarm for a long time,” she added.
But she said while improving diagnosis and treatment was crucial, it was like “building sandcastles while the tide comes” without extra staff to tackle the backlogs and demand for care.
The chair of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce said there were particular problems with cancers of the lung, liver, brain, oesophagus, pancreas and stomach, which have the lowest survival rates. Just 16% of people diagnosed with these cancers survive for five years.
“The situation is urgent. If we are to truly be successful, we need to go much further on cancer and improve the persistently poor outcomes that patients in this country have long experienced compared to other countries.”
This warning comes as the government is promising to invest in new technology and equipment to spot cancer quicker. The strategy will be published later this year.
The last cancer strategy was published in 2019 as part of the NHS Long-Term Plan, promising three-quarters of cancers would be spotted at an early stage by 2028.
Before the pandemic, just over half of cancers were spotted at stages one or two, which is classed as early.
But the fear is the drop in diagnoses. This has been caused by people either not coming forward for check-ups or struggling to get access care especially in the early months of the pandemic, will lead to those figures getting worse rather than better in the short-term.
Delays in Cancer Diagnosis
Cancer is rarely a disease which attacks suddenly. There usually are warning signs which send people to their GP. Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment. If someone attends the GP with symptoms of cancer, the GP must spot the symptoms and refer the patient for further tests.
When a GP fails to spot the symptoms of cancer, then delays in cancer diagnosis can happen. If this happens to you, then you may be able to make a medical negligence claim.
Other examples of cancer negligence include:
- Not requesting scans or other tests when symptoms indicate cancer could be present
- Misinterpreting scans, smears, or different test results
- Losing test results and delaying obtaining new samples
- Incorrect or inappropriate treatment, including issues with chemotherapy and other medication
How We Can Help
Here at The Medical Negligence Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with medical negligence claims. This includes delays in cancer diagnosis. So contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138761 to speak to one of our friendly experts.