Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A study of cancer in children and young adults in England has found that fewer patients were diagnosed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research, presented at the NCRI Festival, also shows that children who were diagnosed with cancer during the first wave of the pandemic were more likely to have been admitted to intensive care prior to their diagnosis.

These findings suggest COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on early diagnosis of cancer in children and young people.

The study was presented by Dr Defne Saatci from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, UK. She said: “Spotting cancer early and starting treatment promptly gives children and young people the best chance of surviving. We already know that the COVID-19 pandemic led to worrying delays in diagnosis and treatment for many adults with cancer, so we wanted to understand how the pandemic affected children’s cancer services.”

Dr Saatci and her colleagues used the QResearch general practice database to study the numbers of different cancers diagnosed in children and young adults up to the age of 25 in the first wave of the pandemic, between 1 February and 15 August 2020. They compared this with diagnoses during the same time period in the three preceding pre-pandemic years. They also looked at the amount of time between diagnosis and the start of treatment and whether patients were diagnosed after being admitted to intensive care.

Read more on the NCRI website here.


Contact our communications team

Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not of Oxford University. Readers' comments will be moderated - see our guidelines for further information.