MORE than 1,000 cancer cases were diagnosed in Barnsley in 2020 - a year which also saw a fall in the proportion found at an early stage.

The 2020 NHS Digital figures, which are the latest available, show that in the former NHS Barnsley CCG area, there were 1,333 cancers diagnosed - 193 fewer than the year before, when there were 1,526 diagnoses.

In July 2022, clinical commissioning groups were abolished and replaced with integrated care boards across England.

Of those that were diagnosed, lung cancer was the most common, accounting for 15.9 per cent of diagnoses.

This was followed by breast, 14.6 per cent, and prostate, 11.9 per cent, cancer.

The figures also show that alongside a drop in the number of cancers diagnosed in Barnsley, the proportion found at an early stage also fell - 50.5 per cent of cancers with a valid stage were diagnosed early in 2020, down slightly from 50.6 per cent in 2019.

Across England, there were roughly 40,400 fewer cancers diagnosed in 2020, while the early diagnosis rate also tumbled to 51.9 per cent, from 54.5 per cent in 2019.

Jon Shelton, head of cancer intelligence at Cancer Research UK, said the coronavirus pandemic caused huge disruption to cancer care, but added that a ‘crisis’ facing cancer services was accelerated rather than caused by it.

He said: “We have been sounding the alarm on the importance of early diagnosis for years.

“Right now, the government is falling short of its manifesto promise of improving cancer outcomes in the UK and significantly improving cancers diagnosed at their earliest stage.

“We need Steve Barclay to step up and commit to a comprehensive and fully funded ten-year cancer plan which transforms our cancer services from world-lagging to world-leading.”

A fall in the national early diagnosis rate in 2020 followed two years of improvement - though the figure is yet to return to the high of 54.6 per cent seen in 2014.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care did not respond to the cancer diagnosis figures, but said the department is ‘laser focused’ on tackling cancer waiting lists across England, adding that 160 community diagnostic centres are being rolled out in a bid to tackle the backlogs caused by the pandemic.

“These one-stop shops have already delivered over 2.7 million life-saving tests, checks and scans,” they added.

“We continue to do all we can to fight cancer and we recently announced a new partnership with BioNTech to boost research into vaccines for cancer with the potential to transform outcomes for cancer patients.”