Welsh cancer outcomes “amongst the worst in Europe”, Plaid Cymru warns

Plaid Cymru will commit to an ambitious recovery plan to tackle the influx of undiagnosed and untreated cancer patients as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, its Shadow Health Minister has said.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said that the party’s recovery plan would form a wider cancer strategy which would prioritise early diagnosis and ensure adequate care for the thousands who will need complex treatment after a missed early diagnosis.

Speaking on World Cancer Day, Mr ap Iorwerth added that Wales’ poor performance on cancer outcomes will only worsen if action isn’t taken.

The Labour Welsh Government’s ‘Cancer Delivery Plan’ ended last year, and a replacement plan is yet to be announced.

Macmillan Cancer Support has calculated that 3,500 people 'missed' a cancer diagnosis between March and November 2020, which will result in more people needing treatment at a later, more complex stage.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

“The pandemic’s impact on cancer treatment is devastating. Thousands of people have missed a diagnosis, and many will now be entering cancer treatment pathways at much later stages of their illness.

“Plaid Cymru would introduce a concrete, ambitious recovery plan – as part of a wider cancer strategy – to prioritise early diagnosis, recognise the thousands currently undiagnosed and ensure adequate care for those patients in later stages of cancer who will need more complex treatments.

“We would complete the roll-out of multidisciplinary diagnostic centres across Wales, ensure all cancer patients have the legal right to a key worker to help them through treatment and beyond and to use mobile screening units to take the service to the hardest to reach communities.

“Now is not the time to be without a cancer strategy. Wales has amongst the worst cancer outcomes in Europe, and this will only get worse if action isn’t taken.

“In the meantime, anyone who has any worry, any symptom, should please, please make an appointment with your GP.”