Growth in cancer diagnostic referrals has been brought to a “juddering halt”

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The national newspapers this weekend provided large scale coverage of fears that cancer referrals are grinding to halt amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Matt Hancock MP, the health secretary was quoted warning that the growth in cancer diagnostic referrals has been brought to a “juddering halt” by the coronavirus pandemic and he told MPs he was “really concerned” by the fact “far fewer people are coming forward” with cancer symptoms, after several years of work to drive numbers up.

This raises once again the question of the value of early diagnosis for brain tumour patients and once again we will restate the point that whilst early diagnosis can make a real difference for those with a brain tumour that is easily accessible to surgical intervention and is of a shape and type suitable for complete resection this isn’t always the case.  Any brain tumour diagnosis, at any stage must be supported by better, new clinical interventions, and choices of these, if we are to improve the woeful brain tumour survival statistics. This will only come through increased and sustainable funding of the discovery science of the type we fund at our research centres.

In the Report of the Task and Finish Working Group on Brain Tumour Research released February 2018  our position was summed up perfectly by  brain tumour activist Peter Realf who said: “While I endorse the need to improve earlier diagnosis, this alone without a cure will simply mean that patients face a longer walk to the grave.”

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