Other factors included increased turnaround time for diagnostic tests (73%), difficulty in identifying symptoms via remote consultation (68%) and turnaround time for Covid-19 testing prior to people having lung tests (54%).
Lung cancer is the most deadly type but if it is diagnosed early when it is more treatable, 57% of people will survive for five years or more. This compares with 3% of people diagnosed at the latest stage.
Dr Neil Smith, Cancer Research UK’s GP adviser, said: “It’s incredibly worrying fewer lung cancer patients have started treatment since the beginning of the pandemic. For those who’ve been unable to get through to your doctors’ surgery, I would encourage you to keep trying, GPs are still here to help you.”
Rebecca Davis, 35, an office worker from the midlands and mother to Alexa, six, was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma ALK-positive lung cancer in August 2020. “I’ve always been prone to coughs, but I started to worry when I had one that just wouldn’t go away,” she said. “I took a Covid test to rule it out and then made an appointment with my GP. I wasn’t nervous about going, I just wanted to get to the bottom of it.”