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Early cancer diagnoses plummeted in England during Covid pandemic

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The number of people being diagnosed with cancer early in England has plummeted during the Covid pandemic, sparking fears that many will only be treated when it is too late to save them.

Official figures show a third fewer cancers were detected at stage one, when the chances of survival are highest, in the early months of the pandemic than during the same months a year before.

Cancer experts fear that the figures, which have been collected by Public Health England’s National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, mean thousands of people have the disease but have not yet started treatment because of “a shift to later diagnosis”. They urged anyone with possible symptoms of the disease to get them checked out immediately.

“While it’s fantastic that Covid rates are dropping and lockdown is easing, the knock-on impact of the pandemic on cancer care cannot be overstated,” said Steven McIntosh, the executive director of advocacy and communications at Macmillan Cancer Support. “We are likely to be dealing with Covid’s long shadow for many years to come.”

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Source: The Guardian, 5 May 2021

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