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Revealed: ‘disturbing’ race divide on cancer patients’ wait times in England

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Black and Asian people in England have to wait longer for a cancer diagnosis than white people, with some forced to wait an extra six weeks, according to a “disturbing” analysis of NHS waiting times.

A damning review of the world’s largest primary care database by the University of Exeter and the Guardian discovered minority ethnic patients wait longer than white patients in six of seven cancers studied. Race and health leaders have called the results “deeply concerning” and “absolutely unacceptable”.

The analysis of 126,000 cancer cases over a decade found the median time between a white person first presenting symptoms to a GP and getting diagnosed is 55 days. For Asian people, it is 60 days (9% longer). For black people, it is 61 days (11% longer).

Michelle Mitchell, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK, which funded the research, said that while the differences are “unlikely to be the sole explanation for the inequalities in cancer survival”, at the very least “extended wait times may cause additional stress and anxiety for ethnic minority patients”.

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Source: The Guardian (28 August 2022)

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