Professor Karol Sikora explained that cancer cases have gone untreated and undiagnosed during the coronavirus lockdown which saw thousands of Britons keep away from hospitals. He revealed that the number of patients coming in for biopsies decreased by 20 percent in May. While NHS England stats between February and April show that an additional 70,000 people, up from 5,733, are experiencing month-and-a-half long waits for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), used to detect tumours throughout the body.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Professor Sikora said: “Cancer is the next big crisis coming.
“The reason is that during the switch to COVID-19, the NHS was unable to diagnose as much cancer.
“We know that in the number of biopsies that have been taken from patients during the month of April and they were less than 10 percent.
“In May, they were about 20 percent.
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“That means that cancer hasn’t gone away, it’s not taken Easter off. It’s there but it’s not being diagnosed yet because it’s difficult to get a scan.
“That will all come and then there will be a surge.
“We have to get through this if the summer goes through.”
In February, before the pandemic hit, fewer than 3 percent of people were waiting for six weeks for such tests.
“It’s now urgent ministers bring forward a plan to tackle the backlog in non-COVID-19 care.
“A vital component would be the introduction of weekly routine testing of all NHS staff to keep them and patients safe from COVID-19 while receiving treatment.
“We’re calling on MPs to support this motion to tackle the rapidly growing queues of their constituents waiting for treatment.”
Labour will highlight the issue in its Opposition Day debate on Wednesday and the party said it is prepared to bring the matter to a vote in the House of Commons.
Party figures show that a six-week wait for cystoscopy, used to detect bladder cancer, has increased by 545 percent, becoming the norm for 8,190 people in April – up from 1,270 in February.