More than a third of cancer cases in the UK are only diagnosed after visits to Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments, a new study has found.
The study, published in The lancetstudied more than 850,000 patients, compared hospital admissions from 14 areas in six comparable high-income countries and found that the UK “ranks among the worst in the world for cancer screening,” he said The Telegraph.
Experts called the numbers “worrying,” the paper added, citing “fears the situation could worsen in the coming years due to backlogs built up during the pandemic.”
Second last Great Britain
The International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) report finds that the UK ranks second in terms of cancer screening. Only New Zealand had a higher proportion of diagnoses made in emergency departments.
Overall, 37% of patients in England and Wales and 39% of patients in Scotland were only diagnosed after being admitted to hospital. In New Zealand the rate was 42.5%.
Looking at specific cancer diagnoses, 46% of all cases of pancreatic cancer were discovered only as an emergency. This figure was much higher in the UK, with 56% in England and Wales and 59% in Scotland.
Overall, 34% of people in England and Wales and 35% in Scotland were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in an emergency, while 47% of people in the UK were diagnosed with liver cancer in the emergency department.
The data was collected between 2012 and 2017, with CRUK warning that the outlook could have been since then worsened by pandemic-related disruptions.
what is done
Responding to the findings, CRUK Chief Executive Michelle Mitchell said: “We want governments across the UK to take bold action as part of their cancer plans to ensure that by 2032 less than 10% of cancer cases are diagnosed through emergencies.
“If we are to build a world-class cancer service, we must learn from peer countries and ensure fewer patients are diagnosed with cancer after an emergency referral or emergency room visit.
“Britain is already falling behind when it comes to surviving cancer – This study helps us understand why and shows that countries with higher numbers of emergency presentations have lower survival rates.”
Last spring the NHS in England introduced a new measure called the Rapid diagnostic standard (FDS). It aims to have 75% of patients diagnosed with cancer or ruled out for cancer within 28 days of an urgent referral from their GP for suspected cancer.
but CRUK said that in the longer term it hopes NHS England will put the FDS on a “more ambitious course” to ensure even more patients get a timely diagnosis. She calls for the target to be raised from 75% to 95%.
This was announced by a spokesman for the Ministry of Health BBC It recognized that “business as usual is not enough” and said it was developing a new 10-year plan for cancer. However, progress is already being made as a network of 160 new diagnostic centers is opening.
An NHS spokesman told The Telegraph that “the proportion of cancer patients diagnosed via an emergency case has declined steadily since 2017”.
“NHS staff have referred more people for urgent cancer screening than ever before in the last 11 months, with more than 200,000 patients being screened in January alone,” they added.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/uk-news/956358/uk-emergency-cancer-battle The ’emergency’ cancer fight in Britain