By Roxanne James • 11 June 2020 • 13:39
ALARMING figures show that urgent cancer referrals in the UK fell by 60 per cent during April, with numbers for breast cancer down almost 80 per cent.
Experts have been warning since March that fewer people would come forward with cancer symptoms over concerns about contracting coronavirus.
The NHS England data records the number of people seen by a specialist within two weeks of being referred by their GP.
According to the report, there were 79,573 referrals in April 2020, compared with 199,217 in April last year. Over the same period, urgent breast cancer referrals plunged from 16,753 to 3,759.
Cancer treatment has also been significantly affected. Just over a quarter of patients had to wait over three months for their first treatment after an urgent cancer referral.
The health service’s 62-day target has not been met for more than four years.
There are now fears of a potential surge in cases in the coming months as lockdown restrictions are eased and people gain more confidence to seek medical help.
Doctors have warned of a potential ‘surge’ in cases in the coming months as people grow more confident in seeking medical help again.
Many operations and procedures were cancelled to allow NHS hospitals to cope better with the coronavirus emergency.
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