“Cancer epidemic” hits Europe as 1 million cases missed due to Covid

The European Cancer Organisation (ECO) has warned that appproxiamately one million cancer cases are going undiagnosed in Europe because of the reduction in screenings throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The group estimates that 100 million cancer screenings were not performed during the outbreak and will lead to decreased survival rates for those whose cancer is found at a later stage than normal.

One in five cancer patients are still not being given the necessary treatment they require according to the ECO, whilst one in two people with cancer symptoms were not referred for urgent diagnosis.

Doctor Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, said: “Today’s findings bring the impact of Covid-19 on cancer into sharp focus. We desperately need urgent measures at the highest level of European policy to address the cancer backlog, restore confidence in cancer services and tackle workforce/supply shortages.”

Professor Mark Lawler, Co-Chair of ECO’s Special Network on the Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer and the Scientific Director of DATA-CAN, the UK’s Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, said “cancer does not wait – immediate action is needed to restore cancer services…”

“The scale of the problem is frightening – the disastrous impact of Covid-19 has meant that there are at least one million Europeans out there with a cancer that has not yet been diagnosed, and a further 1 in 5 of European cancer patients whose treatment has been delayed,” said Professor Lawler.

“We issue this urgent call to national governments across Europe. The time to act is now. Without immediate action, the Covid-19 pandemic is poised to spark a cancer epidemic across Europe.”

Co-Chair Doctor Mirjam Crul added: “We need a European effort to ensure cancer doesn’t become the forgotten “C” during the pandemic, and to sustain a deeper long-term European health cooperation.”

The HSE announced in late March that cancer services will not fully resume until the end of 2021, “assuming (there are) no significant disruptions due to planned delivery, public health restrictions removed or eased, and no adverse winter months impact on acute hospitals”, whilst efforts to clear the backlog of appointments and procedures are expected to begin in the autumn.

Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are open

The biggest problem Ireland faces right now is:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...