4000 Cases of Cancer Missed in Scotland

A new report from Public Health Scotland estimates that at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, from March to June, approximately 4000 cancer cases were missed across Scotland.

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The drop in cancers diagnosed is not due to a drop in cases, people are still getting cancers like pancreatic at the same rate. However, during the first wave of the pandemic, cancer diagnosis faced several challenges. Screening services across Scotland were disrupted in the months that were included in this analysis. The NHS saw fewer patients presenting at their GPs for referral and were unable to carry out normal levels of diagnostic procedures in this time.

Complete diagnostic data for cancer during the last few months of the pandemic is unavailable but there is some encouraging news. Screening and diagnostic services are returning to normal levels. In many parts of Scotland, and across the whole of the UK, cancer investigations and treatments are returning to pre-Covid levels and in some cases, climbing above them. Despite the second wave, more cancer patients than ever before are being treated across the NHS. Diagnostics and treatments for pancreatic cancer have been affected by the pandemic, but the NHS is working hard to find new or alternative ways of treating the disease and keeping patients safe.

Though this news is reassuring, we know that some people affected by cancer symptoms during the pandemic are still to come forward. It may not be cancer, but early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer increases treatment options and saves lives.

The NHS is open, GPs are seeing patients and hospitals are doing everything possible to separate the care of Covid-19 patients from those without. If you have any of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer that are unusual for you, such as abdominal pain or discomfort, mid back pain, persistent indigestion or changes in bowel habit, make an appointment to see your GP.