Thousands of cancer cases being missed during pandemic

22 May 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a dramatic effect on cancer services, warns Cancer Research UK (CRUK), and thousands of cases are being missed.

Screening was formally ‘paused’ in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and effectively so in England, says CRUK, with no invitations being sent.

And fewer people are coming forward with signs or symptoms that could be cancer, feeling cautious about a GP visit, ‘impacting the whole diagnostic pathway’, said the charity.

It reports a significant drop in the ‘urgent referrals’ for cancer, which in England has dropped to around 25% of the usual levels.

‘For every week that this goes on, more than 2300 cancer cases are likely to be going undiagnosed across the UK – and these will be stacking up over time,’ said Sara Hiom at CRUK.

Some hospitals in England have created ‘Covid-free zones’ for cancer treatment.

CRUK has also had to cut its research fund by £44m due to an income shortfall.

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