Cancer cannot be the forgotten illness during pandemic says Kirkcaldy MP

Cancer must not become the forgotten C during the current public-health crisis.
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That is the message of former cancer nurse, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Neale Hanvey, following a virtual meeting with Cancer Research UK to mark World Cancer Day.

Mr Hanvey, who was divisional nurse director for rare cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital prior to entering politics, has raised concerns about the profound impact Covid-19 is having on Fifers living with cancer.

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He said that, despite the best efforts of incredibly hard-working NHS staff, there has been disruption to services that has created a backlog of cancer care, with Macmillan estimating that there are 50,000 people in the UK yet to receive a diagnosis from last year.

Former cancer nurse , Kirkcaldy MP Neale Hanvey, calls for focus on cancer care.Former cancer nurse , Kirkcaldy MP Neale Hanvey, calls for focus on cancer care.
Former cancer nurse , Kirkcaldy MP Neale Hanvey, calls for focus on cancer care.

A report from Public Health Scotland late last year also showed a drop of 22 percent in the number of cancer patients referred for tests and scans, or started treatment between April and June 2020.

This intervention is the latest in a series of campaigns run by Mr Hanvey into issues relating to cancer care and research.

In November last year, he coordinated a cross-party campaign, working with Children with Cancer UK, the leading national charity dedicated to research into childhood cancer, to pressure the UK government into creating a scheme designed to support medical research charities who are suffering from a severe reduction in income as a result of the pandemic.

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The MP said: “There are a lot of stats flying around about cancer care, but what is clear is we have folk in the NHS working incredibly hard to treat and support people living with cancer.

“But, the public health restrictions have an impact on all of us, and that includes people living with cancer. I know from my time supporting cancer patients that the process can be very isolating in normal times, so the restrictions are having a disproportionately negative impact on them.

“That’s why I’m using my meeting with Cancer Research UK to speak out about the need to focus on cancer care at the same time as dealing with the pandemic.

"My message to Fifers is clear: if you have symptoms, get checked; if you need support, it’s open and available.”

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