Coronavirus crisis could trigger a cancer epidemic affecting millions, expert warns – The Sun

THE coronavirus crisis could trigger a cancer epidemic affecting millions, an expert has warned.

It comes after new research found that the efforts to tackle Covid-19 are "significantly affecting" the treatment and care of cancer patients.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The findings, published in the European Journal of Cancer, highlights how the repurposing of health systems and social distancing measures have had negative effects on those with cancer.

There have also been delays in urgent referrals and patients having their cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, postponed, or surgery being delayed.

The research was conducted collaboratively by the Queen's University Belfast, the University of Split, Croatia, and King's College London.

Give now to The Sun's NHS appeal

BRITAIN’s four million NHS staff are on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.

But while they are helping save lives, who is there to help them?

The Sun has launched an appeal to raise £1MILLION for NHS workers.

The Who Cares Wins Appeal aims to get vital support to staff in their hour of need.

We have teamed up with NHS Charities Together in their urgent Covid-19 Appeal to ensure the money gets to exactly who needs it.

The Sun is donating £50,000 and we would like YOU to help us raise a million pounds, to help THEM.

No matter how little you can spare, please donate today here

There are more than 3.7 million new cancer diagnoses in Europe each year and over 1.9 million deaths.

Queen's University's Professor Mark Lawler said there is a risk of a future cancer epidemic.

"We are already seeing the indirect effects of the Covid-19 crisis on cancer care," he said.

"Urgent referral numbers are dropping, endoscopies and other surgical procedures are being postponed and many cancer specialists are being redirected to Covid-19 specific care.

"If we don't act, we risk the unintended consequence of the current Covid-19 pandemic precipitating a future cancer epidemic."

If we don't act, we risk the unintended consequence of the current Covid-19 pandemic precipitating a future cancer epidemic

He added: "We must encourage cancer patients, or citizens who are worried that they may have cancer symptoms, to continue to access health systems and we must ensure that those health systems are fit for purpose to support them.

"Cancer must be firmly in our cross wires, so that we avoid adding the lost lives of cancer patients to the Covid-19 death toll."

The research also highlights that as more people are worrying about the signs and symptoms of Covid-19, less people are seeking advice on new symptoms of a possible cancer, including abnormal bleeding or new lumps on the body.

Professor Eduard Vrdoljak, of the University of Split, also echoed the concerns, adding: "I am extremely worried. We are experiencing significant challenges.

"People's fear of attending any health facility, coupled with their minds being more focused towards Covid-19 symptoms, mean that they may downplay rectal or bladder bleeding, a lump in the breast or other signs of cancer that otherwise would lead them immediately to consult their doctor.

"We are starting to see people who may be at risk of developing cancer fearing a Covid-19 diagnosis more than a cancer diagnosis."

Professor Richard Sullivan, of King's College London, added: "The focus on Covid-19 through 24-hour news cycles and social media, has dramatically changed our emotional and social infrastructure.

"At the scientific level, the modelling on which public health measures are being taken is entirely focused on Covid-19 mortality and morbidity, with little or no consideration for the impact of control measures on increasing morbidity and mortality in cancer, or indeed any other health condition."


Don't miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.

To receive The Sun's Coronavirus newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.
To follow us on Facebook, simply 'Like' our Coronavirus page.
Get Britain's best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.

Source: Read Full Article