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Performance on Wales’ cancer treatment targets falls once again

MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT has warned performance against cancer treatment targets in Wales has taken a further step backwards, leaving hundreds to face anxious delays.

The latest data shows that in May alone, more than 790 people were left to face heart-breaking delays in their cancer care.

In some areas of Wales, less than half of people with cancer are being treated within the target timeframe of 62 days, with 3 out of the 6 health boards that record cancer waiting times recording less than 50% performance against that target.

For some forms of cancer, concerns over increasing waits for treatment are even greater, with almost 2 in 3 people affected by gynaecological and urological cancer facing delays.

Macmillan recently warned that such consistent delays in cancer care mean an estimated 4,500 people in Wales have faced worsening outcomes from their cancer diagnosis because of growing delays in starting treatment.

Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “People affected by cancer, and those involved in caring for them, will look at this data and quite rightly ask ‘what are we waiting for?’ Where is the leadership, the urgency, the funding, and the support required to help bring down cancer treatment waiting times?

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“Not only is performance falling woefully short of existing targets, but we are already months past a crucial interim Welsh Government recovery target of treating 70% of people with cancer on time by March 2023.

“The stark reality is that in areas right across Wales, less than half of people with cancer are being treated on time. That means people with cancer are not only being let down in the ‘here and now’, it casts significant doubt on the ability of Welsh Government to fulfil its promise of treating 80% of people on time by 2026.

“Action is needed now. We know that cancer incidence is forecast to continue to grow in the years ahead and the latest data once again shows that as the numbers entering the cancer care system increases, performance on treating those people on time worsens. That trend simply has to be broken if Wales is to do right by people with cancer, both now and in the future.

“Macmillan continues to do everything we can to help, and we are here for anyone with cancer and their loved ones. For advice, information or a chat, you can call us free on 0808 808 0000 or visit macmillan.org.uk. People can also find out how to take action and join our campaign macmillan.org.uk/whatarewewaitingfor.”