The forgotten C

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Editorial comment by Macmillan Cancer Support

A leading charity has warned of a potential cancer ‘timebomb’ in Scotland and the UK as a whole following the disruption to diagnosis, treatment, and care for tens of thousands of people due to coronavirus.

Macmillan Cancer Support has issued a stark warning to ensure cancer does not become ‘the forgotten ‘C’’ during the pandemic.

Macmillan is calling on the Scottish government to set out clear plans for restoring cancer care that clarify how cancer patients will have access to timely diagnosis and treatment, with surge capacity to catch up on the backlog of care coronavirus has caused.

Janice Malone from Macmillan, said: ‘While the NHS had to react to the unprecedented Coronavirus emergency, 10 weeks on from the beginning of lockdown, people with cancer need answers on when their treatment will restart and how it will do so safely.

‘We also need to know when screening will get back up and running and how the government plans to counteract the significant drop in urgent GP referrals.’

In Scotland, for example, official figures show the number of people dying from cancer is already 5 per  higher than average since the UK lockdown began.

Macmillan’s analysis and the Scottish Government’s own figures suggest almost 600 cancers  will have gone undiagnosed if screening, paused on March 30, doesn’t resume by the end of June.

To donate to Macmillan’s emergency fundraising appeal visit macmillan.org.uk.