Socialist Party
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19 June 2019

Cancer stats reveal deep inequality

Jon Dale, secretary, Unite Notts NHS branch

"This year, more than 300,000 people in England will receive the life-changing diagnosis of cancer. And the number of people living with cancer is predicted to rise by 3.2% each year.

"But for too many people, who they are or where they come from will determine what happens next."

Cancer charity Macmillan has brought out a report filled with statistics showing the impact of poverty and austerity.

Compared to the highest income groups, people in the poorest areas in England are 20% more likely to have their cancer diagnosed at a late stage. Poorer people living with cancer have consistently worse experiences from the point of diagnosis.

40% of people living with cancer in the most deprived areas had surgery compared to 48% in the least deprived areas. Those people living with cancer on the lowest incomes feel twice as likely to need more emotional support as those with larger household incomes.

Inside the home, 38% of people on a low income say they would like more practical support. For people on a high income it's 19%.

Outside the home, 34% of people on a low income say they would like more practical support, compared to 13% of people on a high income.

In their last year, people living with cancer in the poorest areas faced almost 25% more emergency admissions compared to people from the least deprived areas.

Inequality starts early, with worse living and working conditions. Trade union rights at work allow people to visit their doctor sooner rather than worry about taking time off.

The Socialist Party calls for fully funding the NHS and social care, paid time off work for family carers and a benefits system that meets the needs of those living with cancer.