Lung cancer progress halted by Covid-19 pandemic

AstraZeneca and World Economic Forum report reveals the cost of Covid-19 on lung cancer progress

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Lung cancer progress in diagnosis has declined due to the strain caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic on health and healthcare systems, according to a report developed by the World Economic Forum and the Lung Ambition Alliance (LAA), in collaboration with AstraZeneca.

The report entitled Learning Lessons from Across Europe – Prioritizing Lung Cancer after Covid-19, said that further impacts on treatment will be expected the longer the pandemic continues and called upon global governments to focus urgent attention on restoring lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The report suggested short- and long-term healthcare recommendations in order to reduce further avoidable deaths. For example, public health information campaigns about lung cancer were suggested to raise the public’s awareness of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer, and encourage them to seek help if they are concerned about their health. For long-term progress, the report proposed that global governments should implement real-time data collection and analysis at a national and local level to identify and address the impact of Covid-19 on lung cancer patients.

David Baldwin, chairman of UK Clinical Expert Group for Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma and Report Taskforce, said: “We clinicians are seeing similar late presentations of lung cancer to those that were the norm 20 years ago. With disruptions at an unprecedented level, lung cancer patients simply cannot afford to have the clock wound back to where things were.”

Lung cancer causes the highest number of cancer deaths around the world, with more than one million deaths recorded per year. Exacerbating this impact, the World Health Organization reported more than 40 per cent of countries around the world disclosed a complete or partial disruption to lung cancer services due to the pandemic.

 “We must redouble our efforts to diagnose patients early, by urgently restoring awareness and early diagnosis campaigns, rapid diagnostic and treatment pathways and approval of national lung cancer screening programs. Patients deserve fresh investment and services to make up for lost time and accelerate innovation in lung cancer treatment options,” Baldwin said.

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