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Charity warns that performance is the lowest on record since new national cancer treatment targets began

Macmillan Cancer Support is warning that performance against Wales’ national cancer treatment times targets has fallen to its lowest point since records began.

The charity says that more people are now facing delays in receiving their life saving cancer treatments than ever before.

The latest data published today shows that in January only 53% of cancer patients started their treatment within 62 days – well below the national target that 75% should start their treatment on time.

It means that during January of this year alone, an estimated 700 people faced delays in receiving vital cancer treatments.

Macmillan believes that the latest data also shows how a cancer care system that was struggling even before the pandemic began, is now failing to cope with a rise in demand.

The number of patients coming into the system in January increased by 13.9%, while that same month also recorded the lowest performance on record in terms of getting those people treated on time.

Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “These latest figures are edging us towards a situation in which we will see around half of people with cancer in Wales facing delays in life saving cancer treatments.

“This has to act as a real wake-up call on the need for Welsh Government to put a clear strategic direction in place to put cancer care in Wales back on track – a direction that commits Wales to a relentless focus on funding and growing the capacity of our cancer care workforce so it can meet demand for cancer care in Wales.

“Early diagnosis, timely treatment – Wales simply will not be able to deliver the best possible outcomes for people with cancer if those two things are not in place.

“Right now, these latest figures show that this isn’t happening, and the worsening level of performance we are seeing against national cancer treatment targets has to be addressed with the upmost urgency.

“Macmillan is here to help. Please, if you are worried and need advice, information or a chat you can call us free and confidentially on 0808 808 0000.”