Covid has played a crucial impact on cancer treatments and ‘an upsurge in crisis is growing’, the World Health Organization has warned.
Thousands of people across Europe noticed that their scans and treatment delayed due to lockdowns put in place to control the widespread of coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Due to that, many are set to start treatment later when their disease is more advanced and harder to treat, meaning they are more likely to die from it or be left disabled.
Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said: “Due to travel restrictions and the enormous strain on health systems of fighting Covid-19, cancer services have been disrupted across the entire region, significantly delaying diagnosis and treatment, directly impacting the chances of a cure or survival for hundreds of thousands of cancer patients.”
Many more people will die in the coming years, particularly of breast and bowel cancer, for which screening appointments have been postponed, he said.
Dr Kluge’s comments echo concerns raised last year by cancer charities in the UK, who said shutting out patients in the spring would lead to a cancer timebomb.