‘This is the worst cancer crisis in living memory’ Experts warn of ‘devastating recession’

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Almost 60,000 patients have not started treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral over the past year, analysis found. And just 62 percent of newly diagnosed patients met that NHS target between April and June. The findings from the Catch Up With Cancer campaign were slammed by experts.

Leading oncologist Professor Pat Price said the situation was “nothing short of a national emergency”.

She said: “How can ministers look at these waiting times and not see a devastating cancer recession, that will cost tens of thousands of lives?

“This is the worst cancer crisis in living memory, with the figures still record-breaking each month and getting worse.

“Yet the solutions being offered by frontline staff to boost treatment capacity, in areas like radiotherapy, are being systematically overlooked
and ignored.”

Macmillan Cancer Support urged the next Prime Minister to prioritise publishing the delayed 10-year cancer plan for England and ensure the NHS gets the necessary investment to provide high-quality care. The specialist health care charity found that the number of people who have started treatment in England since the start of the pandemic is still 30,000 lower than would usually be expected.

In June, the number beginning treatment fell back below the pre-pandemic average.

More than 10,000 people are also waiting three months or longer following a referral for suspected cancer, according to the Health Service Journal.

Minesh Patel, head of policy at Macmillan, said: “Today’s data illustrates the huge strain the cancer care system is still under, with many people anxiously waiting far too long to receive results and start treatment that could
improve their quality of care and save lives.

“It’s vital that, among the recent confusion and chaos at Westminster, cancer doesn’t get sidelined once again.

“Without this, people living with cancer will continue to pay the price.”

NHS England said demand for cancer services had been high in June, with around 230,000 people checked for the disease and almost 26,000 starting cancer treatment.

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