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NHS England’s “celebratory” cancer check announcement does not reflect reality, charities say

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: (Published 03 January 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q13
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

NHS England’s announcement highlighting record numbers of cancer checks does not reflect the “brutal” reality facing patients as waiting times targets continue to be missed, charity leaders have said.

Earlier this week, NHS England announced that “more people than ever before” had been tested for cancer, with almost three million urgent cancer checks in the past year (November 2022 to October 2023)—the highest on record.1 It added that for the first time, 58% of cancers were diagnosed at stages one or two between September 2022 and August 2023—around 2.1% points above the pre-pandemic level.

NHS England national cancer director Cally Palmer said, “We know there’s more to do, but we’ve been throwing …

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