More emergency cancer patients in Wigan than pre-pandemic
More cancer patients are receiving emergency diagnoses than they were before the pandemic in Wigan, new figures show.
Across England, the percentage of cancer patients presenting as an emergency has fallen in the last year – though it remains above pre-pandemic levels, and Cancer Research UK says more must be done to diagnose cancers at an earlier stage and limit emergency presentations.
An emergency presentation 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.
NHS Digital figures show 403 people first presented as having cancer in the NHS Wigan Borough CCG area between October and December – of them, 100 were deemed to be an emergency.
It meant 24.8 per cent of patients were classed as an emergency – up from 20.9 per cent in the same period in 2020.
This is also higher than the final quarter of 2019 (18.8 per cent), the last before the coronavirus pandemic.
Nationally, 13,000 of 70,000 total presentations were emergencies between October and December – meaning 18.8 per cent of cancer presentations were an emergency.
This is the lowest of any quarter since the pandemic began, but remains above the 18.4 per cent between October and December 2019.
Pancreatic cancer had the highest percentage of emergency presentations in October to December nationally, at 57 per cent, followed by acute myeloid leukaemia and central nervous system tumours.
Cancer Research UK said the fall in emergency cancers could reflect a rise in people being diagnosed through regular routes, but also expressed concern that emergency rates remain high.
Dr Ian Walker, executive director of policy at the charity, said: "This is worrying because cancers diagnosed following an emergency presentation are more likely to be at a later stage when fewer treatment options are available.
"Clearly, there’s more work that must be done.
"Cancer must be a priority for the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care."
Dr Walker called on the Government to publish a 10-year cancer plan, including a target that less than 10 per cent of cancer cases be diagnosed through emergency routes by 2032.