This Breast Cancer Awareness month we must remember not to allow the difficulties we are confronting because of COVID-19 to blind us from the progress we have made fighting other diseases.
Since the 1970s significant progress has been made in the treatment of breast cancer; beginning with the discovery that intravenous chemotherapy reduced deaths in young women with early breast cancer, through to the modern day, where four out of five NHS patients survive breast cancer for ten years or more.
But not all the success is as a result of medical and scientific advances. Credit needs to be given to simple awareness. Awareness amongst the population results in earlier diagnosis and therefore treatment. Earlier treatment increases the chance of success.
The importance of breast cancer awareness
According to the World Health Organisation more than half of the breast cancer deaths, worldwide, occur in low to middle income countries. They attribute this to lower awareness of the importance of early detection and barriers to healthcare. COVID-19 has sent the UK backwards, in this respect; many people have been scared to leave their home and many others unable to attend cancelled appointments.
The impact of COVID-19
At the end of September, Breast Cancer Now reported that that almost one million women missed breast cancer screenings. As a result, they estimate that 8,600 women could be living with undetected breast cancer. It is more important than ever, with the suspension of routine screening and resulting backlog, that women are even more vigilant, and seek help if they have any concerns.
As medical negligence solicitors, we see first-hand the impact that delays in diagnosing breast cancer can have. Although our clients are usually victims of medical mishaps, the consequences of delayed diagnosis are all too similar. So, we’re urging everyone with any concern to seek the treatment they need this Breast Cancer Awareness month.
You can read more about breast cancer here. The detrimental impact COVID-19 has had on breast cancer applies to other cancers too though. You can read about the signs and symptoms of other cancers here.