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There is a hidden epidemic of missed cancer cases – here’s how we save lives now | Devi Sridhar

With up to a million missed diagnoses across Europe as a result of the pandemic, it’s time to put cancer back on the agenda

  • Devi Sridhar is chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh

You almost certainly know someone who has died of cancer before their time. Perhaps you’re even a cancer survivor yourself. Lymphoma and leukaemia killed my father at 49, after several years battling them. My best friend’s mother has survived breast cancer, but the fact that it might return is a lurking anxiety in her mind. Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, and accounts for nearly one in six deaths. The good news before Covid-19 was that countries across the world, even in low-income regions, had improved their diagnosis and treatment capability, and cancer survival outcomes were improving. Things were getting better.

But the pandemic has reversed these gains. A report from the Lancet Oncology Commission, examining 44 European countries, notes that the pandemic has resulted in late cancer diagnosis, delayed intervention, disruption in treatment and many deaths, due to Covid-19, among cancer sufferers. This is largely a result of health services being overwhelmed or repurposed and of too many infections and Covid hospital admissions, leading to long national lockdowns in some countries. The report estimates that as many as a million cancer diagnoses may have been missed in Europe during that time.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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