A professor at King’s College London has warned that there will be more excess cancer deaths over the next 5 years than the number of people who die from coronavirus in the UK due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus lockdown, which is preventing cancer victims from getting treatment.
Richard Sullivan, professor of cancer and global health and director of its Institute of Cancer Policy, said: “The number of deaths due to the disruption of cancer services is likely to outweigh the number of deaths from the coronavirus itself over the next five years.”
Many people are avoiding hospitals, partly due to fear of coronavirus and partly due to the NHS implying that people should stay away so as not to burden doctors and nurses.
This means that routine cancer screenings have all but stopped and there will be a massive backlog once normality resumes.
“The cessation and delay of cancer care will cause considerable avoidable suffering,” said Sullivan. “Cancer screening services have stopped, which means we will miss our chance to catch many cancers when they are treatable and curable, such as cervical, bowel and breast.”
People didn’t suddenly stop getting cancer when the coronavirus outbreak started, but now they are not getting treatment.
One wonders what the point is in allowing such disruption in the name of saving lives, only to lose more lives to cancer in the long run.
“Some stroke and heart attack patients are routinely waiting more than two hours for an ambulance, while 2,300 cancer diagnoses are being missed each week because patients are not going to see their GP or because they are not being referred for urgent tests and scans at hospital,” reports the Daily Mail.
Sobering from @aliceTTimes 'Richard Sullivan, professor of cancer and global health at King’s College London, says: “Deaths due to the disruption of cancer services likely to outweigh deaths from the coronavirus itself over the next five years.' https://t.co/j6QS6YSxUi— Sarah Vine (@WestminsterWAG) April 17, 2020
“Another 400 cancers a week are, it is estimated, being missed because breast, cervical and bowel cancer screening has been suspended. For any of these patients, delay can be a death sentence.”
As we previously highlighted, despite many predictions that the NHS would be “overwhelmed” by coronavirus, acute hospital beds across the United Kingdom are four times emptier than normal.
One of the overspill hospitals built to handle with an excess of patients due to coronavirus in the north east remains empty and will never be used.
In addition, the temporary Nightingale hospital in London has “remained largely empty since it opened,” according to HSJ.
Despite all this, the UK government has refused to even suggest when lockdown measures may end.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty also said that social distancing measures will have to remain in place until a vaccine is available, something that could take more than a year.
A graph also shows that, when population differences are factored in, Sweden, which hasn’t imposed any mandatory lockdown measures, has virtually the same death rate as England, which has been under lockdown for over a month.
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