Renewed focus will be placed on innovative cancer treatment and early diagnosis to reduce the backlog in cancer treatment caused by the pandemic, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, cancer remains the biggest cause of death from disease in the UK and the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious effect on care and services, with people not coming forward for checks.
Mr Javid will set out a plan to make England a world-leader in cancer care with greater attention paid to innovative treatment and early diagnosis to radically improve outcomes for cancer patients.
Read more: Government u-turns on vaccine mandate
‘This Plan will show how we are learning the lessons from the pandemic, and apply them to improving cancer services over the next decade,’ said Mr Javid.
‘It will take a far-reaching look at how we want cancer care to be in 2032 – ten years from now. Looking at all stages, from prevention, to diagnosis, to treatment and vaccines.’
While cancer treatment was maintained at 94% of pre-pandemic levels and 95% of people starting treatment did so within a month, there were nearly 50,000 fewer cancer diagnoses across the UK during the pandemic, including 34,000 in England.
Read more: Around 1 in 10 children starting school at risk of measles
‘The NHS is committed to saving more lives from cancer by finding more cases at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat in line with our ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan – it is this action that will ultimately help us to save thousands of lives sadly lost to cancer every year,’ said Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for the NHS.
‘Despite the pandemic and thanks to the huge efforts of our staff, cancer services have remained a priority with well over two million checks in the last year alone and tens of thousands of people starting lifesaving treatment every month.’