Beating bowel cancer together

Latest Welsh figures show that only 35% start their treatment within 62 days

Thursday 20 January 2022

Figures published by NHS Wales today (Thursday 20 January 2022) show that just over a third (35.2%) of patients started treatment for lower gastrointestinal cancer within 62 days of being referred - the second lowest recorded figure since December 2020.

The figures, which are for November 2021, also show that none of the Health Boards in Wales met the 75% target for starting treatment within 62 days of first being suspected of cancer.

The total number of those beginning treatment in the month or told they do not have cancer was 2,860, the highest volume of patients in the last 12 months.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on bowel cancer services, and endoscopies for all but emergency and essential reasons were initially paused. NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to restart these services but the pause has led to a backlog in patients waiting to be seen, diagnosed or start treatment.

Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, says: "Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Wales, but it's treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. It's tragic that some patients will face poorer outcomes as a result of having to wait too long before starting treatment.

"The NHS has worked incredibly hard to continue delivering cancer services under great strain but they need the support of the Welsh Government. NHS Wales staff and cancer patients in Wales need the Welsh Government to provide the funding required to ensure the targets set out in the Cancer Quality Statement are met. We call on the Welsh Government to use the current budget process to prioritise the workforce and kit required to improve cancer diagnosis.”

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