Warnings that 400,000 patients may miss out on early cancer alert

Health fears amid warnings that 400,000 patients ‘may not get their cancers spotted early for the next TEN years’ because of NHS shortages

  • Patients in England face ‘deeply worrying prospect’ of survival rates going down
  • By 2032, 78 percent of people could have cancer diagnosed at stage one or two
  • Approximately 440,720 people may be diagnosed late over the next decade 

More than 400,000 people could miss out on an early cancer diagnosis over the next ten years due to ‘persistent failures’ to address shortages in the NHS, charities warn today.

Patients in England face the ‘deeply worrying prospect’ of survival rates going backwards unless the lack of staff and equipment is addressed, the head of Cancer Research UK said.

Its calculations reveal that 440,720 people may be diagnosed late over the next decade – which can limit treatment options and reduce chances of survival.

The charity is leading calls for an improved cancer strategy in a letter signed by more than 50 cancer organisations.

They say by 2032, 78 per cent of people should have their cancer diagnosed at stage one or stage two.

More than 400,000 people could miss out on an early cancer diagnosis over the next ten years due to ‘persistent failures’ to address shortages in the NHS, charities warn today (file photo)

They also call for workforce and equipment shortages to be addressed and cancer waiting times targets to be met.

The letter is being submitted following a call for evidence from the Department of Health and Social Care. It will help form the Government’s ten-year cancer plan for England.

Last night CRUK chief executive Michelle Mitchell said: ‘The numbers are clear – without leadership and more action, too many people with cancer will continue to be diagnosed late, when their chances of survival are much lower.

Government’s persistent failure to address chronic shortages in NHS staff and equipment means people are waiting too long.

‘On top of this, following the disruption of the pandemic, we now face the deeply worrying prospect of survival going backwards.’

This month, figures revealed that in January the proportion of patients seeing a specialist within two weeks if their GP suspects cancer fell to its lowest level on record at 75 per cent. 

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