Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has called for a step change in cancer diagnosis in Wales after research emerged which links late diagnosis with deprivation.
Macmillan Cancer Support and the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit of Public Health Wales have collated figures which show the stage at which cancer is diagnosed differs from location to location.
Data provided by the GP Cluster Networks show that between 2011 and 2015, almost one in five people (19 per cent) with cancer in these clusters in Cwm Taf were diagnosed at its most advanced stage - stage 4 - compared to 13 per cent of people in Powys clusters.
Rhondda AM Leanne Wood said: “These results are unacceptable. We all know that early diagnosis is key to surviving cancer. What these figures tell us is that you have less chance of surviving cancer if you live in the Rhondda than if you live in wealthier areas like Monmouth or the Vale of Glamorgan.
“That is not a situation I am prepared to tolerate. The service provided should be equally good no matter where you live in Wales.
“I will be making strong representations on behalf of people in the Rhondda as to why this is the case. I will also be seeking answers as to what needs to be done to remedy the situation.”
Leanne added: “It is worth noting that these figures pre-date the financial boost for extra cancer diagnostic centres that Plaid Cymru secured as a result of our budget deal with the Labour Government.
“This was a step in the right direction but there is more that can be done to improve diagnosis and people’s chances of beating this terrible disease. I will be pushing for improved facilities in those constituencies where these figures are poor.
“Plaid Cymru’s flagship health policy of recruiting and training 1,000 extra doctors and 5,000 nurses would also be a boost for the NHS in Wales as GP appointments are often too hard to obtain in those early days of having symptoms of cancer. The Labour Government in Wales could and should be doing more on this.”
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