UK cancer deaths set to surge as a result of ‘catastrophic’ pandemic
The World Health Organisation has issued a stark warning that as a result of cancelled appointments and delayed screenings during the pandemic, the UK is going to see an unprecedented surge of cancer deaths in the coming years.
Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said: “Due to travel restrictions and the enormous strain on health systems of fighting Covid-19, cancer services have been disrupted across the entire region, significantly delaying diagnosis and treatment, directly impacting the chances of a cure or survival for hundreds of thousands of cancer patients.”
Doctor Kluge’s concerns were echoed by many of the UK’s cancer charities as in 2020, many hospitals and medical centres were forced to suspend appointments for all but the most essential patients, meaning that many people diagnosed with cancer have started their treatments much later than is recommended, with obvious dire consequences.
In a statement released on Thursday, February 4, Dr Kluge said:
“At the Kyrgyzstan National Center of Oncology, the number of cancers diagnosed in April last year dropped by 90 per cent, while in the Netherlands and Belgium in the first lockdown of 2020, it dropped by 30–40 per cent.
“Delayed diagnosis and treatment in the United Kingdom are expected to result in an increase in the number of deaths from colorectal [bowel] cancer by 15 per cent, and 9 per cent for breast cancer over the next 5 years.
“A crisis of noncommunicable diseases, including cancer, is brewing, brought on by the pandemic.”
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