lesserity ethnic cancer patients in UK wait much longer than their white counterparts for a diagnosis: Study


Last Updated on 2 days by Mukesh

An exclusive report by The Guardian has revealed that Black and Asian people in England have to wait longer for a cancer diagnosis than white people. As per a “disturbing” analysis of National Health Service (NHS) waiting times, some of them are forced to wait an extra six weeks for a diagnosis.

University of Exeter and The Guardian reviewed the world’s largest primary care database and discovered that minority ethnic patients wait longer than white patients in six of seven cancers studied. A delayed diagnosis leaves patients with fewer treatment options as in this case treatments might become less effective. 

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As per The Guardian – The analysis of 126,000 cancer cases over a decade found the median time between a white person first presenting symptoms to a GP and getting diagnosed is 55 days. For Asian people, it is 60 days (9% longer). For black people, it is 61 days (11% longer).

The University of Exeter looked at 126,000 cancer cases in England between 2006 and 2016. The data covered the four most common cancers – lung, breast, prostate and colorectal – and three commonly diagnosed in ethnic minorities: oesophagogastric, myeloma and ovarian.

An earlier research had already established that ethnic minorities suffer worse outcomes when it comes to certain cancers in England and are less likely to report a positive healthcare experience.

The differences in wait time for a diagnosis are particularly stark for some cancers. A white man for oesophagogastric cancer – of the stomach or oesophagus, is likely to get a diagnosis within 53 days of reporting the symptoms. However, for Asians it is 100 days. In myeloma, the third most common type of blood cancer, the median diagnosis wait time for white people is 93 days. For black people, it is 127 days.

Experts say it is important to understand why are ethnic inequalities in healthcare happening, endangering their lives. “We urgently need to address these underlying factors holding black and Asian patients back from getting a fair chance when it comes to fighting cancer,” Jabeer Butt, the chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation, was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

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Michelle Mitchell, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK, which funded the research, said that added wait time means additional stress and anxiety for the ethnic minority patients. 

Guardian analysed the data and came up with astounding figures. It said that in six of the seven cancers analysed, black or Asian patients waited longer for a diagnosis than white patients. Lung cancer was the exception where the median wait time was 103 days for black patients, 115 for Asian patients, and 129 for white patients. The median myeloma diagnosis wait time for black people was 37% longer than for white people.


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