Our partner, MacMillan Cancer Support, has been raising timely concerns in the House of Commons about delays in cancer diagnosis and about the backlog in cancer treatment and care, as a consequence of giving priority to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic
It is estimated that 37,000 fewer people started their first cancer treatment last year.
NHS England has said they intend to intend to clear the backlog of patients waiting for cancer treatment caused by the pandemic by March 2022 and that referrals and treatments have been above normal levels since March 2021.
Dame Cally Palmer, national cancer director for NHS England, said there had been “an issue of not wanting to bother the NHS or being concerned to come forward” and emphasised the importance of having the right diagnostic and treatment capacity to address the issue. She highlighted that there had been a significant investment in radiotherapy and diagnostic kit with cancer being treated as a priority.
A committee of MPs also heard that there had been a drop in people coming forward with symptoms of lung cancer because of the crossover with COVID-19.
“The Coalition’s Treatment Backlog Taskgroup is looking at how we can better help maintain a good quality of life for those awaiting diagnosis or treatment, based on a better understanding of their individual needs and circumstances.