A Record Year For People Receiving NHS Cancer Treatment
Thousands more people started vital treatment for cancer over the last year compared to before the pandemic, the NHS has said today. Over 320,000 people received treatment for cancer over the last year (Nov 2021 – Oct 2022) – the highest year on record, and up by more than 8,000 on the same period pre-pandemic.
More people than ever before also had potentially lifesaving NHS cancer checks, with over 2.8 million people seen – up by almost a fifth on the same period before the pandemic (2.35 million in 2018/19) – with over 10,000 checked every day and around 6% resulting in a cancer diagnosis. NHS chiefs have said this is “important progress” as more people getting checked and treated could have a significant impact on cancer survival. Not only did the NHS see and treat more people than ever before for cancer, but recent data also shows 100,000 patients were diagnosed with cancer at stages one or two when it is easier to treat last year (2021-2022) – the highest proportion on record. The NHS doubled spending on the biggest cancer awareness campaigns in health service history and cancer chiefs continue to encourage people to come forward for checks if invited by the NHS or if they have experienced any worrying symptoms.
Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for NHS England, said: “NHS staff have been working incredibly hard over the past year to recover from the pandemic and it’s thanks to our campaigning efforts and early diagnosis drives, alongside the courage of people like Dame Deborah James encouraging people to come forward, that we’ve seen and treated record numbers of people.
“This is important progress – we know lives are saved when cancers are caught early and when more people are seen for tests and checks – and as we head into the New Year, the NHS will not take its foot off the pedal when it comes to ensuring people are seen and treated as early as possible. I would urge everyone to keep talking to your friends and loved ones to raise awareness, and come forward for checks if you have potential symptoms and concerns – the NHS is here for you.”
Professor Peter Johnson, NHS England National Clinical Director for Cancer, said: “We know that the possibility of a cancer diagnosis can be daunting and that many people don’t want to bother anyone with their health concerns, but we would always prefer to see you sooner with a cancer that be treated successfully, than later with one that can’t.”
Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London said: “When cancer is caught at an early stage, treatment is often more effective and the chances of successful recovery are much higher. This is why speeding up cancer diagnosis can make an enormous difference to survival rates. It is encouraging to see that a record number of people received cancer treatment in the past year and that a high proportion of them were diagnosed at early stages, when the disease is more easily treatable. It is vital that people are encouraged to come forward for checks if they have symptoms. At the ICR, we have worked with our hospital partner The Royal Marsden to launch the ‘Man Van’, a mobile health clinic that provides free health checks for men to boost early diagnosis of prostate and other urological cancers. This is one example of the ways we can innovate to ensure more cancers are detected early.”
Jane Lyons, CEO of Cancer52, a coalition of 110 charities working to support people with rare and less common cancers, said, “It is truly admirable that the cancer teams across England have managed in such challenging circumstances to treat this record number of patients over the past year. And good to see too that recent data shows that the highest proportion of people on record were diagnosed at an earlier stage; and that there’s been significant investment in awareness raising campaigns for rare and less common cancers like ovarian and bladder.”
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