‘The knock-on impact of the pandemic on cancer care cannot be overstated’. These are the words of Steven McIntosh, the executive director of advocacy and communications at Macmillan Cancer Support, reported in a shocking article in The Guardian last week.

There’s no avoiding the tidal wave of press articles highlighting concern about the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on other crucial health services, including cancer care. The statistics shared in The Guardian and in Macmillan’s own report were among some of the most shocking recently published.

Macmillan estimates that it would take the NHS 20 months working at pre-pandemic capacity to catch up on missing/delayed cancer diagnoses. The Health Data Research Hub for Cancer also predicts that there could be an additional 18,000 deaths in people with cancer as a result of the effects caused by the pandemic. Many of these could be the result of later diagnosis with statistics published in The Guardian showing that the number of people in England diagnosed with stage one cancer fell by almost a third between March and June 2020 compared with 2019.

What’s the solution?

Despite the current Covid situation being much more positive than in recent months, pre-Covid staffing, funding and access issues remain very real barriers to addressing the backlog. So, what can be done to help? We believe that our blood test, PanTum Detect, could be an invaluable resource for supporting the NHS Recovery Programme and getting early cancer diagnosis back on track.

At the present time, options for cancer diagnosis are extremely limited and largely unavailable in frontline primary care. Instead, patients are referred for conventional techniques including imaging or tissue biopsy. However, tissue biopsy is invasive, time consuming and its efficacy is often limited. Liquid biopsy, as is used in PanTum Detect, is a non-invasive alternative. A blood draw can detect real-time changes in cells far earlier in the disease, facilitating earlier diagnosis and treatment. The liquid biopsy technique is already in use within the NHS but restricted to certain types of cancer.

How is PanTum Detect different?

As we have reported in our recently published whitepaper, PanTum Detect is the first universal cancer detection liquid biopsy test. Based on the latest publicly available data, PanTum Detect has more cancer types confirmed than any other liquid biopsy either already on the market or in clinical development. It has been proven reliable in several studies, with CE certification awarded in 2017 based on performance data showing 97.50% sensitivity and 99.05% specificity. You can read more about the science behind PanTum Detect by downloading our whitepaper from our website.

PanTum Detect can be administered and analysed quickly, helping to reduce the screening backlog faster than using conventional biopsy techniques. Better still, as it is a simple blood draw it can be safely performed in primary care settings or even patient’s homes, reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission, and ensuring that all patients have the opportunity to receive early cancer screening, regardless of their location or ability to access services.

PanTum Detect is accurate, affordable and available now. We welcome any opportunity to discuss how PanTum Detect can help the NHS cut through the backlog of outstanding cancer diagnoses and prevent unnecessary loss of life from delayed cancer care. Please use the contact form on our website to get in touch.