Kate Byng-Hall laments as the UK could face 60,000 premature cancer deaths as the coronavirus pandemic limits diagnosis and treatment.
Photo by Hush Naidoo
So far, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused almost 400,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK, and led to almost 42,000 deaths. The world has already seen nearly 30,000,000 cases globally. But coronavirus hasn’t put a stop to one of the deadliest diseases faced by humanity – cancer. Whatever the death rate for Covid, 450 people on average die of cancer in the UK every day.
Estimates by experts have predicted that around 60,000 people could die of cancer prematurely as a result of lack of diagnosis and treatment due to Covid-19 restrictions. Routine cancer screenings, such as mammograms for breast cancer and endoscopies for gastrointestinal cancers, have been severely hampered or even scrapped together due to pressures on health services because of coronavirus.
As of June 2020, over two million people were waiting for cancer screening, tests and treatments, mainly for breast, bowel, and cervical cancers. This led to approximately 2000 fewer cancer cases being diagnosed every week in the UK as of May 2020.