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Cancer will strike 445,000 people in Britain this year – and in each of the next five years if trends continue – a rise of almost 10 percent on current figures. The chilling forecast came from Cancer Research UK experts.
On Wednesday 62 charities will hand over a petition of nearly 80,000 names at Downing Street, demanding immediate action.
Ropinder Gill, chief executive of Lymphoma Action, said: “People affected by cancer need to know the Government has a commitment to improve cancer care and treatment.”
The NHS has a target of diagnosing 75 percent of all cancer cases at the earliest stages by 2028. But analysts forecast the figure will only be 52 percent in five years’ time, which equates to around 65,000 patients being diagnosed late (stages 3 and 4) instead of early (stages 1 and 2).
For the target to be met analysts estimate an additional 486,000 early-stage cancer cases will need to be diagnosed.
Wednesday’s petition is being hosted by Cancer Research UK and supported by other cancer charities, uniting as One Cancer Voice.
The coalition includes Blood Cancer UK, Brain Tumour Research, Lymphoma Action and Pancreatic Cancer UK, who all want a Government commitment to transform research, diagnosis, treatment and patient experience. They will be joined by a cross-party group of MPs including Jess Phillips, Clive Betts, Hilary Benn, Derek Thomas and Greg Smith.
Helen Rowntree, chief executive of Blood Cancer UK, said: “The earlier someone is diagnosed, the better chances of treatment
“We’re calling on the Government to keep its promise to deliver a long-term, fully-funded cancer plan to transform outcomes.” Professor Karol Sikora, oncologist and former director of the WHO cancer programme, said: “Patients should be waiting days to speak with a specialist, not weeks or even months.
“Oncologist friends of mine overseas look at the British waiting times with incredulity.
“How can it be so poor?”
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are taking immediate action to detect and treat record numbers of cancer patients as early as possible. We are developing a Major Conditions Strategy that will include cancer along with other conditions.”
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