More than 100,000 patients have seen their cancer spread or worsen because of treatment delays, according to a leading cancer charity.
Macmillan Cancer Support said patients were facing “inhumane” situations and lives are threatened because of a “shameful” failure to deliver NHS care in time.
According to The Telegraph:
Its analysis found that over the last decade, 180,000 cancer sufferers in the UK waited at least two months to start treatment after an urgent referral.
In-depth polling of patients diagnosed with cancer over the period suggests more than 100,000 cases in which disease had progressed – including cases which are now incurable.
The charity is launching a campaign – What Are We Waiting For? – which highlights delays at every turn.
The analysis shows that NHS performance fell to the worst on record in 2022 in all four UK nations.
Britain already has some of the lowest cancer survival rates in Europe.
Gemma Peters, chief executive officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, said the analysis showed problems started long before the pandemic.
She said: “Cancer care is in crisis after years of governments failing to act. Every single person who has faced a worse outcome from their cancer diagnosis because of delays will know the devastating impact that waiting has had on their lives, from the burden of anxiety that their cancer is growing, and for many, the devastating news that their cancer is now incurable.
“This is categorically unacceptable and entirely avoidable,” she said.
The charity said it was “shameful” that 180,000 cancer sufferers had waited more than two months for treatment, since 2014.
NHS targets in all four nations say such patients should normally start treatment within 62 days.
Polling of 2,654 patients diagnosed with cancer in the past decade found that six per cent – equivalent to more than 100,000 people, when extrapolated across the UK – said they had seen their cancer progress as a result of delays.
In total around one quarter of all those who suffered delays of several weeks or months believed the waits had contributed to their deterioration.
Such patients told how their cancer progressed or spread, in some cases becoming incurable, with fewer treatment options as tumours became too large for surgery.
'Governments need to act now and take this problem seriously.'
The Head of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, @minesh1112, tells @NickFerrariLBC that cancer treatment delays are at an all-time high but says with the right action, 'we can turn this around'. pic.twitter.com/nvKf2xNhiZ
— LBC (@LBC) June 20, 2023