The National Cancer Intelligence Network has today (Tuesday 10 November) announced that the overall proportion of cancers diagnosed as an emergency at hospital has decreased to 20%.
However, according to the full list of data published today, the proportion of children aged 0 to 14 who are diagnosed in an emergency has not changed, and remains at 53%. The proportion of emergency diagnoses for young people aged 15 to 24 has also not been reduced, staying at 26%.
Lorraine Clifton, Chief Executive of CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading charity for children and young people with cancer, said: “We are deeply concerned that children under 14 are still twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer in an emergency as the average for all cancer patients, and it is very worrying that young people with cancer aren’t seeing the same reductions in the rate of emergency diagnosis as older adults.
“Until we know why so many young cancer patients receive an emergency diagnosis, and its impact on survival, it is impossible to point to action that will lead to improvements.
“As part of our Better care for young cancer patients campaign, CLIC Sargent is calling on the NHS across the UK to improve support for GPs in identifying cancer in children and young people.
“We also call on the NHS, Public Health England and the research community to invest in studies to understand why children and young people are disproportionately likely to be diagnosed in an emergency.”
The National Cancer Intelligence Network, Public Health England, defines diagnosis as an emergency at hospital in a number of ways, which includes an emergency route via A&E, emergency GP referral, emergency transfer, emergency consultant outpatient referral, emergency admission or attendance.
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