Cancer Care in a pandemic

26 March 2021

As the Covid death rate continues to fall, last week One Cancer Voice, which represents 20 cancer charities warned that for the first time in decades the death rate from cancer is likely to rise because of the impact of the pandemic on cancer treatment.

Cancer is something that affects us all; with Cancer Research estimating that 1 in 2 of us will be diagnosed with it during our lives. Investment in research and treatment, along with raised awareness, has meant that for decades the number of people dying from cancer has fallen.

The number of people developing cancer won’t have changed through the pandemic, but the treatment that patients have access to, and the speed at which that treatment is given has been very different. For those facing a cancer diagnosis this has been an extra challenge.

One Cancer Voice estimates that around 43,000 people didn’t have the cancer treatment they needed from April 2020 compared to the same period before the pandemic. We know that this treatment is life-saving, or in the case of a terminal diagnosis, life prolonging. 

For those living with a terminal diagnosis the pandemic has impacted their ability to live as they want to, and spend time with their loved ones. Macmillan Cancer Support acknowledges that the impact on palliative treatment and the need for many cancer patients to isolate has made “a challenging situation even more difficult.”

Pressing ahead with cancer treatment during a pandemic, when that treatment often supresses the immune system, is something that needs to be carefully weighed up by the patient and the treating team. Despite the Government message that Cancer treatment should be continuing, there are many stories where patients have been left waiting for treatment.

Our team has specialist experience of advising patients who have received a delayed diagnosis of cancer, or a misdiagnosis. We understand the huge impact this has on every area of life. Our lawyers can help you work out your next steps. If you are concerned about the cancer treatment you or someone you care about has had, please contact a member of our team on 020 7814 1200.


If you or a family member have been affected by the issues raised in this blog please contact one of our Medical Negligence & Personal Injury lawyers on 020 7814 1200, or email us at



Kirsty Allen is a Senior Associate in the Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury department.

Kirsty has a varied caseload of clinical negligence and personal injury matters. Her clinical negligence practice includes adult and child brain injury cases, as well as failure to diagnose cancer, negligence resulting in loss of sight, gynaecological and cauda equina claims. Kirsty also has experience of Inquests. Kirsty’s personal injury work focuses on serious and fatal claims. 

Kirsty recognises that for many clients, understanding what happened is as important as monetary compensation and Kirsty tailors her approach to her client’s needs. Kirsty’s clients have praised her hard work and caring approach.

Kirsty is passionate about increasing understanding between doctors and lawyers around common mistakes leading to a clinical negligence claims and she has worked closely with the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management for the last two years to achieve this.

After reading Law at the University of Sheffield, Kirsty completed the Legal Practice Course before qualifying in 2010. She joined Kingsley Napley in July 2012.


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