Thousands more people started vital treatment for cancer in the capital over the last year compared to before the pandemic, according to latest figures from the NHS in London, whose officials described the progress as “a huge step in the right direction”.
More than 39,000 Londoners received treatment for cancer over the year from November 2021 to October 2022 – up by more than 2,700 on the same period pre-pandemic.
More people also had potentially lifesaving NHS cancer checks, with more than 433,000 people seen, up by 11per cent on the same period before the pandemic (391,000 in 2019-2020).
NHS chiefs have said this is “important progress” as more people getting checked and treated could have a significant impact on cancer survival.
That progress is liable to be maintained after it was announced that staff in high street pharmacies will receive training to spot signs of cancer.
Prof Kristian Helin, the chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, 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 vital that people are encouraged to come forward for checks if they have symptoms.”
Dr Chris Streather, Medical Director for the NHS in London, said, “We saw a record number of cancer checks completed last year in London, which is a huge step in the right direction, as catching cancer earlier is essential in improving health outcomes.
“The NHS in London is continually finding new ways to make cancer screening easy and accessible for everyone, including high street checks and community lung scanning trucks.
“We know that the possibility of a cancer diagnosis can be daunting but if you have a sign or symptom that you’re worried about, such as a persistent cough, lumps or bumps, or prolonged discomfort, please come forward – getting checked out could save your life.”
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