In the UK more men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer. There have long been national screening programmes for breast cancer and cervical cancer, but there are no plans to have a national screening programme for prostate cancer. A number of excuses are given but the reality is that the government prefers to spend money saving the lives of women rather than men. Much better for men to be income tax-paying workhorses then die early, saving the state the cost of their pensions. A piece in today’s Times:
Almost 11,000 women in the UK could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new analysis.
The charity Breast Cancer Now said 10,700 fewer people were diagnosed with breast cancer between March and December than it would have expected.
The findings were announced as Public Health England data suggested thousands of people had put off seeking urgent help for stroke symptoms during the first wave, and another study found non-white heart attack patients may have received worse care.
Breast Cancer Now looked at how many began treatment in England and Scotland, and using data on urgent referrals and screening from Wales and Northern Ireland.
Services for breast cancer patients faced significant disruption last year, it warned, with nearly 1.2 million fewer women undergoing screening in the same ten months. Services are still operating at about 60 per cent capacity due to social distancing and infection control requirements, the charity said.
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The tragic cost of almost 11,000 missing breast cancer diagnoses is that in the worst cases, women could die from the disease . . . While we cannot know the full impacts of the pandemic, what we do know now is that over the coming years the number of women coming forward could overwhelm our already overstretched workforce.
“We simply cannot afford for any more time to pass before UK governments invest in and tackle the crisis facing the cancer workforce. Only then will we be giving women the best chance of an early breast cancer diagnosis which we know is critical to their chances of survival.”
Separately, Public Health England (PHE) said that between March and July last year there was a 13 per cent drop in hospital attendances for stroke, with delays to treatment causing unnecessary deaths. Strokes, of which there are about 10,000 a year in the UK, require immediate attention. About 1.9 million nerve cells in the brain are lost every minute that a stroke is left untreated.
PHE released the figure as it relaunched its Act Fast campaign, urging people to recognise the symptoms of stroke by asking whether the person’s face has fallen on one side, if they can raise both arms and keep them there, and if they have slurred speech.
Black people are twice as likely to have a stroke as white people, and on average people from black African, black Caribbean and South Asian backgrounds have strokes at a younger age.
A study published today in the peer reviewed journal Heart found that non-white heart attack patients were less likely to receive certain types of care and more likely to die early than before the pandemic. Researchers from Keele University looked at national registries of patients admitted to hospitals with a heart attack in England between February 1 and May 27 last year, and compared them with earlier years.
They found that non-white patients waited longer for certain types of procedure and treatment both before and after the pandemic. However, those that were managed with a stent procedure had similar outcomes to white patients. They also found that people from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to die in hospital.
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