People with some of the deadliest forms of cancer are being diagnosed later than ever as a result of disruption to healthcare caused by the Covid pandemic, campaigners have warned.
Stomach, lung, pancreatic, brain, stomach and oesophageal cancers have some of the poorest long-term survival rates and have always been disproportionately diagnosed late following an emergency hospital admission. However, campaigners are concerned that the poor prognoses for these patients have been exacerbated by factors such as a reluctance to attend A&E or bother GPs during the pandemic, and by bottlenecks in the numbers of patients waiting for tests such as CT scans or endoscopy.
A drive to raise awareness of the symptoms for these cancers – which are not subject to any routine screening programmes – along with a push for more investment into research for treatments has been launched today to mark the first Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day.
Dawn Crosby, head of Scotland and Northern Ireland for Pancreatic Cancer UK and a member of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, said: “We know that delays in diagnosis lead to much poorer outcomes for patients with these rapidly-advancing cancers. We also know the trauma associated with receiving a diagnosis in an emergency setting for both patients and families."
“These cancers are currently difficult or impossible to treat at later stages and the time from diagnosis to death is often brutally short compared to more survivable cancers.
“The situation is critical and has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Taskforce is calling for a significant increase in research funding, as well as a commitment to increasing resources for early diagnosis for less survivable cancers so we can close the deadly cancer gap.”
Source: The Herald, 11 January 2022