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MPS raise concerns over cancer survival rates

MPs have raised the alarm on the prolonged impact of the pandemic on cancer services in England in a new report which underlines the importance of getting to grips with the cancer crisis.

The highly critical report by the Health and Social Care Committee examines the gaps in the cancer workforce and warns that gains in cancer survival are at risk of reversing. It states that the absence of a serious effort by Government to tackle gaps in the cancer workforce is jeopardising earlier diagnosis, which is key to improving survival rates.

The report reveals that the NHS was not on track to meet its target on early cancer diagnosis. This means more than 340,000 people between 2019 and 2028 could miss out on an early diagnosis.

The progress made by Government against targets on cancer services in England was rated as ‘inadequate’ by the Committee’s Expert Panel, which also rated progress to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028 as ‘inadequate’.

Commenting on the report, Professor Karol Sikora, chief medical officer at Rutherford Health (an independent cancer treatment and diagnostic provider), said: “When it comes to cancer, the importance of early diagnosis cannot be overstated. The earlier we diagnose, the better the survival rates. We need to get to grips with this right away.”

To help the Government tackle the cancer backlog, Rutherford Health, has offered its treatment and diagnostic services to the National Health Service on a not-for-profit basis through its ‘Cancer Recovery Contract’ proposal. This includes MRI and CT scans, ultrasound services, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and proton beam therapy.

Professor Sikora added: “At the moment we have capacity at our cancer centres across the country and we can make it immediately available. We have offered the NHS access to our treatment and diagnostic services on a not-for-profit basis and we standby ready to help. What matters now is patients get diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. We must improve outcomes immediately.”

According MPs, there was ‘no detailed plan’ to address shortages of clinical oncologists, consultant pathologists, radiologists and specialist cancer nurses with gaps threatening diagnosis, treatment and research.

Despite some progress in one-year cancer survival rates since the 1970s, outcomes in England lag behind countries such as Canada or Australia. By comparison fewer people in England will live for five years or more diagnosed with colon cancer or stomach cancer.

 

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Upcoming Events

Infection 360: What's trending in infection prevention & control

Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham
27-28 September 2022

IP2022 IS COMING TO BOURNEMOUTH IN OCTOBER 2022

Bournemouth
17-19 October 2022

UKHCA Conference: Listen Up

Pendulum Hotel and Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester
3rd November 2022

MEDICA 2022

Dusseldorf Germany
14th November - 17th November

Future Surgery 2022

ExCel, London
15th - 16th November 2022

IDSc Annual Conference

The Eastside Rooms, Birmingham
29th - 30th November 2022

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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