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Keeping cancer services running

Catching and treating cancer early is key and the NHS will continue to prioritise cancer services as we manage the latest wave of COVID-19.

To help us do this across north east London, we are making sure that:

  • people have rapid access to tests for suspected cancer and screening continues
  • urgent cancer surgery is prioritised
  • cancer treatment is delivered in COVID-secure sites
  • local hospitals work with local partners to make sure we have sufficient capacity
  • effective communications with patients is in place, and patients are involved in decisions around their care.

National ‘Help Us Help You’ campaigns, supported by local campaigns, have been raising awareness of cancer symptoms and we have seen eight months of record referrals from March 2021 to October 2021 and in October they were at 113% of usual levels across England.

We still need to see more people coming forward. The record demand does mean some people are waiting longer to be seen than we’d want, but it is better that people are in the system so that we can prioritise those most in need.

Between March 2020 and October 2021, GPs in England referred over 3.8 million people with suspected cancer and over 487,000 started cancer treatment, 95% of whom started treatment within a month of a decision to treat.

Please remember that if you have any possible cancer symptoms you’re worried about, speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Find out more in our Cancer won’t wait for COVID short video.