Fewer emergency cancer patients in Wigan

Fewer cancer patients received an emergency diagnosis in Wigan last year, new figures reveal.
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Cancer Research UK said the overall drop in patients diagnosed with cancer through emergency routes is positive, but added too many people affected by cancer are waiting too long to receive a diagnosis and begin treatment.

An emergency presentation of cancer is when a diagnosis is given within 30 days of a hospital admission and does not include more managed routes, such as cancer screening or through a GP.

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Fewer cancer patients had an emergency diagnosisFewer cancer patients had an emergency diagnosis
Fewer cancer patients had an emergency diagnosis
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NHS data shows 458 cancer patients were first seen as inpatients in the former NHS Wigan Borough CCG from July to September. Of them, 104 – 22.7 per cent – were emergency presentations.

This was down slightly from 22.8 per cent during the same period in 2021 and from 23.2 per cent in 2019, before the pandemic.

Dr Ian Walker, Cancer Research UK's executive director of policy and information, said: "Despite the tireless work of NHS staff, too many people affected by cancer are waiting too long to receive a diagnosis and begin vital treatment, regardless of the route they enter the system.

"We urge the Government to show political leadership on cancer and use its upcoming Major Conditions Strategy to transform cancer services, so every patient has the best chances of early diagnosis and survival."

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Across England, 13,200 of the 71,600 presentations were emergencies. It means the rate of emergency presentations was 18.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2022, down from 19.7 per cent the same period in 2021 and down from 19.3 per cent pre-Covid in 2019.

The figures also show the cancers with the highest rate of emergency presentations were pancreatic cancer (55.6 per cent), acute myeloid leukaemia (54.9 per cent) and malignant central nervous system tumours (51.5 per cent).

An NHS spokesperson said: "It is encouraging news that emergency presentations of cancer are back below pre-pandemic levels, continuing the steady decline that we have seen over almost two decades.

"While the incidence rate has risen over time due to an ageing population, the hard work of NHS staff means the health service is now diagnosing a higher proportion of cancers at an early stage – when they’re usually easier to treat – than ever before, potentially saving thousands of lives."