Stop cancer becoming the forgotten 'C'

At Macmillan, we speak to people with cancer every day. We have heard loud and clear how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting them.

People aren’t getting the timely support they need, and vital appointments are being postponed, cancelled or changed. We know the emotional impact of the outbreak is taking its toll on people who are already struggling.

Will you join our urgent call to all UK Governments to stop cancer becoming the forgotten ‘C’?

Even in a time of crisis, decisions must be made for people with cancer with people with cancer. If we don’t take action now, we’re building up serious problems for the future. That’s why we are calling on all UK Governments to stop cancer becoming the forgotten ‘C’.

We want to see urgent action to:

Make sure people living with cancer can still access treatment safely

  • publish national recovery plans to protect cancer services and reduce the treatment backlog
  • rapidly establish ‘coronavirus-free hubs’ with the required equipment, testing and staff
  • ensure that everyone with cancer has a personalised care and support plan with the emotional, practical and end of life support they need
  • make sure people with cancer symptoms continue to contact their GP.

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Address the immediate concerns of people with cancer who are shielding or at the end of life

  • give all shielding and self-isolating people with cancer the right information and support. That includes access to priority online grocery shopping and emotional support
  • urgently address the need for ‘right to say goodbye’ guidance in Wales and Northern Ireland for people receiving end of life care in their own home. And for governments in England and Scotland to make more families aware of this right in their countries
  • commit extra NHS capacity to end of life care in community settings to support families and carers during COVID-19.

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Take action in your nation

An illustrated map of England with the text 'England' on a purple background. More info

England

We want the Government to publish a plan showing how cancer treatment will return as soon as possible. Latest figures show:

  • almost 18,000 more people with cancer in England could die. The coronavirus pandemic led hospitals to suspend treatment and deter people from seeking NHS care
  • this is an increase of 20% on the 89,576 deaths among cancer patients recorded annually in England
  • urgent GP referrals for cancer tests have fallen by 76%. Chemotherapy appointment referrals have fallen by 60%.

Take action – write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP. You can raise Macmillan's and your own concerns over cancer treatment in England.

Northern Ireland More info

Northern Ireland

We want the Northern Ireland Assembly to publish a plan showing how cancer treatment will return as soon as possible. We know that:

  • patient treatment is being changed, postponed or cancelled 
  • routine cancer screening programmes have been paused 
  • without immediate action, cancer services will feel the impact of COVID-19 long into the future.

Take action – write to the Minister of Health, Robin Swann MLA. You can raise Macmillan's and your own concerns over cancer treatment in Northern Ireland.

Scotland More info

Scotland

We want the Scottish Government to publish a plan showing how cancer treatment will return as soon as possible. We know that:

  • the latest figures show there are 50% fewer urgent cancer referrals each week 
  • screening for bowel, breast and cervical cancer has stopped
  • cancer treatment is being delayed, cancelled or reduced.

Take action – write to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman MSP. You can raise Macmillan's and your own concerns over cancer treatment in Scotland.

Wales More info

Wales

We want the Welsh Government to publish a plan for how cancer treatment and screening services will return as soon as possible. We know that:

  • many cancer treatments have been delayed, cancelled or shortened
  • routine screening for bowel, breast and cervical cancer has been put on pause
  • fewer people are contacting their GP with new or persistent cancer symptoms. 

Take action – write to the Minister for Health Social Services, Vaughan Gething MS. You can raise your own and Macmillan’s concerns over cancer treatment in Wales.