2020 a Devastating Year for Londoners with Cancer


NHS England have released December’s Cancer Waiting Times figures, showing the number of people starting their first cancer treatment or being referred urgently by their GP to a cancer specialist to receive a possible cancer diagnosis.

In London, there were overall fewer people starting treatment or seeing a cancer specialist in 2020 than in2019 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020, about 74,000 fewer people in London saw a cancer specialist to begin tests for suspected cancer following an urgent GP referral.
In 2020, about 4,500 fewer people diagnosed with cancer started their first treatment in London compared to 2019.
Following the first peak of the pandemic in March 2020, London saw a greater drop-off in first cancer treatments and in first appointments with a specialist for people with suspected cancercompared to England as a whole.

Sara Bainbridge, Head of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:

“2020 was a devastating year for many people living with cancer – some faced agonising delays or disruption to diagnosis and treatment, compounded with fears that this could impact their prognosis.

We’re yet to see all of the long-term impacts of the pandemic on people with cancer. With challenges still ahead, the NHS must be supported to ensure timely and safe cancer care can continue, including access to private hospital capacity for as long as it needs.

Despite the relentless pressures of Covid-19, NHS staff are working tirelessly, and we urge anyone experiencing cancer symptoms to contact their GP without delay and attend scheduled medical appointments.