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UK cancer care in crisis and patients will die due to lack of strategy, experts warn

UK cancer care is in crisis and patients will die because of ministers’ decision to axe a dedicated plan to tackle the disease, leading cancer experts have warned.

Waiting times for NHS cancer treatment are at a record high and it is expected there will be 2,000 extra cancer patients a week by 2040. In January, the government scrapped its longstanding cancer plan and instead merged it into a wider “major conditions strategy” that also covers a range of other major diseases.

In a report published in the Lancet Oncology, 12 cancer experts said the decision could cause more people to die.

Prof Pat Price, an oncologist and visiting professor at Imperial College London and joint senior author of the report, said: “The dangerous reality is that cancer care in this country is fast becoming a monumental crisis and there appears to be no realistic plan. A cancer plan is not just a strategy, it is a lifeline for the one in two of us that will get cancer.”

Mark Lawler, a professor of digital health at Queen’s University Belfast, the chair of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership and a co-author of the paper, said: “Getting rid of a dedicated cancer strategy will cost lives. Abandoning a dedicated national cancer control plan in favour of a major conditions strategy is an incomprehensible decision not in the best interests of people with cancer.”

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Source: The Guardian, 15 November 2023


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