Sarah Harding's death puts cancer care in the spotlight

We're all aware of the pressure that the NHS has been under over the last two years. As a consequence, other areas of primary and secondary care have been overlooked by both patients and the healthcare system. 

Sarah Harding’s death pushed this reality into the limelight. Last weekend, the Girls Aloud star died aged 39 of breast cancer. In her autobiography, Hear Me Out, she wrote about how she put off getting medical advice when she found lumps under her arm in 2019. And, when she eventually went to see a doctor her care with put into ‘slow motion or stopped altogether.’

This delayed care was caused by Sarah’s own reticence to visit the hospital setting and the immediate diversion of the healthcare system's attention towards dealing with the coronavirus. Although it has taken someone we all know to bring the catastrophic effects of the pandemic to our attention, it’s been a devastating consequence for many people affected by cancer. 

In October 2020, Macmillan Cancer Support published a report called The Forgotten C: The Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer Care. It spotlights the impact of the pandemic on the lives of those diagnosed with cancer.