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Third of cancer patients still face anxious treatment delays

(Adobe Stock)

Macmillan Cancer Support has welcomed a continued recovery in cancer services from the impacts of the pandemic but warns a third of people still face anxious cancer treatment delays.

Data released for June shows that 1,647 people newly diagnosed with cancer started their first definitive treatment in the month, the second highest on record since the new suspected cancer pathway data collection began.

While the charity welcomes this improvement after the number of people entering the system reduced drastically over the course of the pandemic, it warns that over 530 people still experienced delays in their treatment during June alone.

The charity has also warmly welcomed an announcement from Welsh Government that a further £551m will be made available to help the NHS cope with the ongoing impact of coronavirus, with £140m earmarked for the recovery of normal NHS services and reducing waiting lists.

Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “These figures show that Wales is still moving in the right direction when it comes to managing the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on cancer care.

“Early diagnosis and timely treatment are key to making sure people get the best possible outcomes and that has been so difficult to achieve over the last 18 months with thousands of people affected by missed diagnoses or disruption to their treatment and care.

“Only today we have seen further funding announced by Welsh Government to help the NHS recover from the pandemic, this is warmly welcomed and alongside these latest figures offers hope for further improvements in the future.

“But we must not underestimate just how far we have to go.  Thousands are still missing from the system and we can expect many people to need more complex care.

“We also have to acknowledge that cancer affects every part of a person’s wider life – from their finances to their emotions to their practical day to day needs.

“These worries and very real impacts go beyond waiting lists, treatment times and what goes on in hospital.  That is why we must also ensure individual and personalised care is woven back into the system as a priority as more immediate pressures begin to ease.”

“If anyone is worried and needs advice, information or a chat you can call Macmillan for free on 0808 808 0000.”