Home Health Stephen Fry slams ‘deadly’ waits for NHS cancer treatment and urges ministers to get a grip on crisis after his own prostate cancer battle

Stephen Fry slams ‘deadly’ waits for NHS cancer treatment and urges ministers to get a grip on crisis after his own prostate cancer battle

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Supporting the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign, Stephen Fry criticized figures showing more than 200,000 patients have experienced treatment delays since 2020.

Stephen Fry today urged Britons to sign a petition calling on the Government to get Britain’s cancer crisis under control.

Supporting the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign, he criticized the “deadly” delays tens of thousands of people have faced and praised King Charles for raising awareness of the disease generally.

Fry, 66, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, but has since recovered.

Damning figures show that more than 200,000 patients affected by cancer in the UK have suffered delays in their treatment since 2020.

Some have been forced to wait months to begin chemotherapy and other life-saving therapies.

Supporting the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign, Stephen Fry criticized figures showing more than 200,000 patients have experienced treatment delays since 2020.

While the level of progress in cancer survival for some forms of the disease has been rapid, such as breast and prostate cancer, others, such as lung and pancreas, have only improved at a snail's pace.

While the level of progress in cancer survival for some forms of the disease has been rapid, such as breast and prostate cancer, others, such as lung and pancreas, have only improved at a snail’s pace.

He petitionwhich has gathered almost half a million signatures, was launched in 2020 by Kelly Smith’s parents, Craig and Mandy Russell, alongside leading oncologist Professor Pat Price, founder of the charity Radiotherapy UK.

Ms Smith’s life expectancy was dramatically reduced after chemotherapy for bowel cancer was stopped as a direct result of Covid.

Doctors have long expressed concern that NHS-wide cancer targets are still not being met, even when someone has been diagnosed with the disease.

The latest NHS data shows that less than two-thirds (65.9 per cent) of patients started their first cancer treatment within two months of an urgent referral.

NHS guidelines state that 85 per cent of cancer patients should be treated within this time frame.

But this objective has never been met.

In a video shared on social media by Radiotherapy UK, Fry said: “In 2018 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“You never know how you’re going to react when you get that kind of news and, very sadly, it’s something that one in two of us are going to go through.”

He added: ‘Since 2020, 225,000 people have waited too long for cancer treatment, and these waits can be deadly.

‘If, like me, you want to help, this is what you can do. Please join me and sign the #CatchUpWithCancer petition.”

Radiotherapy UK charity director Sarah Quinlan MBE said: “Stephen and his team have been wonderfully supportive of what we are trying to do, which is to highlight the thousands of people who wait too long for cancer treatment, often with deadly consequences.

‘For a national treasure like this to speak out for the campaign and help us get the petition to a major milestone is a huge boost.

“We hope that even more public will support the campaign and that the government will sit up and pay attention to treating cancer patients, not just diagnosing them.”

It comes as King Charles began cancer treatment last month just days after being diagnosed.

Buckingham Palace has not specified the type of cancer.

But his treatment has drawn more attention to long waiting times on the NHS.

“I think he’s done a real service to the country by being open and honest about it,” Fry added.

Fry has been a close friend of the King for several years and the actor was personally invited to his coronation last year.

It comes as King Charles (pictured on February 4) began cancer treatment last month just days after being diagnosed. Buckingham Palace has not specified the type of cancer or whether the King receives private healthcare or is being treated on the NHS. But his treatment has drawn even more attention to long waiting times on the NHS.

It comes as King Charles (pictured on February 4) began cancer treatment last month just days after being diagnosed. Buckingham Palace has not specified the type of cancer or whether the King receives private healthcare or is being treated on the NHS. But his treatment has drawn even more attention to long waiting times on the NHS.

Last month, patients, charity campaigners and oncologists ¿led by #CatchUpWithCancer¿ marched on Parliament calling on ministers to commit to a specific cancer plan. Pictured are (left to right) Antiques Roadshow expert Theo Burrell, TV gardener Danny Clarke, Dan Knowles, chief executive of Brain Tumor Research, Sam Suriakumar, a patient undergoing treatment for a brain tumour, and the activist Laura Nuttall's mother, Nicola Nuttall, pose. with his signature box before delivering a petition to 10 Downing Street, London

Last month, patients, charity campaigners and oncologists, led by #CatchUpWithCancer, marched on Parliament calling on ministers to commit to a specific cancer plan. Pictured are (left to right) Antiques Roadshow expert Theo Burrell, TV gardener Danny Clarke, Dan Knowles, chief executive of Brain Tumor Research, Sam Suriakumar, a patient undergoing treatment for a brain tumour, and the activist Laura Nuttall’s mother, Nicola Nuttall, pose. with his signature box before delivering a petition to 10 Downing Street, London

Experts believe delays in diagnosis and slow access to treatment are behind the deadly gap in cancer survival rates in the UK.

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in 2019, states that 75 per cent of people with cancer should be diagnosed early, at stage one or two, by 2028.

But cancer care effectively stopped for some patients when the pandemic first hit UK shores, with appointments canceled and diagnostic scans delayed due to the government’s devotion to protecting the NHS.

Experts have estimated that 40,000 cancers went undiagnosed during the first year of the pandemic alone.

Other official NHS data from December on cancer waiting times also shows that only seven in 10 (74.2 per cent) of patients referred urgently for suspected cancer were diagnosed or had cancer ruled out within a timely period. of 28 days. The goal is 75 percent.

Only nine in ten (91.1 percent) wait a month or less for their first cancer treatment to begin after deciding to proceed with surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

The goal is 96 percent, but it has never been met.

Last month, patients, charity campaigners and oncologists, led by #CatchUpWithCancer, marched on Parliament calling on ministers to commit to a specific cancer plan.

The number of cancer patients waiting more than 60 days to start treatment would extend from London to Cardiff if they stood in line, they said.

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