KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Efforts to improve cancer patients’ chances are hampered by a critical absence of qualified diagnostic staff to detect tumours early, says Cancer Research United Kingdom (CRUK).
The Guardian reported the charity’s experts as saying that about 115,000 cancer patients in England annually were detected when they were already in stage 3 where the cancer may have started to spread, or stage 4, where it has reached other organs.
The UK government set an ambitious goal for NHS for early detection by 2028 – three quarters of cancers to be picked up at phases 1 and 2 when a cure is more probable. But it is reportedly almost impossible to achieve without more staff.
“It’s unacceptable that so many people are diagnosed late. Although survival has improved, it’s not happening fast enough,” CRUK policy director Emma Greenwood was quoted saying.
By 2027, England’s NHS requires an additional 1,700 radiologists, increasing the total number to nearly 4,800; oncologists to triple from 1,155 to 3,000; and to recruit 2,000 more therapeutic radiographers, said CRUK.
“Cancer is a priority for this government. Survival rates are at a record high and, in the NHS long-term plan, we committed to detecting three quarters of all cancers at an early stage by 2028,” the Department of Health and Social Care was quoted saying.
“We now have over 900 more diagnostic radiographers working in the NHS when compared with 2017, and the record £33.9 billion extra we’re investing in our NHS every year will ensure we can support the health service with the staff it needs for the future.”