The impact of COVID-19 on cancer services is well-documented, but our new report in partnership with Cancer Research UK, has revealed the impact on cancer surgery and mortality from the beginning of the pandemic and throughout the recovery period.

Our expert data analysis has revealed that while the pandemic saw a significant and prolonged effect on cancer services and patients, the impact on services during the recovery period was more varied revealing greater delays amongst certain demographic groups, including older people as well as gender differences. For example, the largest total decline in the number of patients undergoing cancer surgery was seen in women aged 40-49 with an initial decrease of 16.2% and a fall of 1.2% throughout the recovery period.

Our extensive study in partnership with Cancer Research UK found that in this country there are more than 30,000 extra cases of cancer per year attributable to socio-economic deprivation. That’s more than 80 additional new diagnoses each day that could be prevented if all parties had an equal incidence rate as the least deprived.

The report has provided insight which shows a need for greater research and understanding of the factors involved and why particular sections of society have felt a more sustained impact. What also becomes clear is the need for better, shared data that can help identify which of the variations are unwarranted and help to create insight that can lead to new frameworks and initiatives to tackle health inequalities.

Telstra’s commitment to improving cancer survival is a global one. In Australia, Telstra Health has been working with the Australian Department of Health to develop and operate a new National Cancer Screening Register to support the renewed National Cancer Screening programme.

Telstra Health’s population health platform enables a single, electronic record for eligible people participating in the programmes, comprehensively linking all stakeholders including health professionals, pathology labs, governments and local health authorities providing real-time access to patients’ cancer screening history.

This is an important way to reach target populations that are experiencing poorer health outcomes. Sharing data between all those involved in and responsible for health care within communities has helped to provide a picture of where help is needed the most.

The pandemic has put a significant burden on already-strained healthcare systems around the globe, but it is still important that enough money goes into cancer services. At the same time we need expert insight and a better understanding of the factors causing such variation to transform cancer care, improve outcomes and reduce waiting lists.

Read the full report here: Telstra Health UK CRUK report