Cancer undiagnosed 'for nearly 2,000 people in UK every week'

Cancer is going undiagnosed for up to 2,000 people a week due to Covid-19 concerns in hospitals and GP surgeries, with a charity warning the UK now faces a “ticking time bomb”. Macmillan Cancer Support said the disease risks becoming “the forgotten C” of the coronavirus pandemic, with evidence of patients having appointments cancelled or postponed, while others awaiting possible diagnosis say they are put off attending hospitals due to concerns about contracting the virus. Prof Charles Swanton, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, who is leading the Covid-19 testing laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute, said that late diagnosis is a major concern and that Covid protected zones need to be urgently established in hospitals to allow cancer screening and treatment to restart. An analysis of official health data by Macmillan also suggested that cancer deaths may already have increased due to disruption to care caused by Covid-19. “My concern is the NHS is going to be very stretched at the point when normal work resumes.” The charity saw a rise in demand for a number of its services and has launched new virtual ones – such as telephone buddying –to prevent people with cancer from falling through the cracks.