Research led by the Institute for Cancer Research, and co-authored by Professor Mark Lawler, from Queen’s, on the effect of delays in the two-week-wait cancer referral pathway during the COVID-19 pandemic has been published in The Lancet Oncology.
Commenting on the research, Professor Lawler, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Digital Health at Queen's and DATA-CAN’s scientific lead, said: “Our findings in this paper, published in one of the world's premier cancer journals, indicate that the early warning system that we employ to confirm or dismiss the suspicion of cancer in our citizens is not functioning properly.“This current research and our use of real time data, that we have reported on previously and which featured in the recent Panorama programme, has shown that seven out of 10 people who may be at risk of developing cancer are being missed by the system. I want to emphasise that this is a UK-wide problem that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.“It is critically important that we get our ‘red flag’ referrals and cancer diagnostic services back to normal as quickly as possible, otherwise we will fall further behind in our fight against cancer.”
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