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Campaigners demand urgent action to prevent unnecessary deaths of 35,000 cancer patients due to Covid backlog

A CALL for urgent government action to prevent the unnecessary deaths of about 35,000 cancer patients due delays from the Covid-19 backlog hit 100,000 signatures within hours of launching.

The petition was opened by the family of Kelly Smith, whose life was cut short after delays to her treatment, in an interview on Saturday’s BBC Breakfast TV. 

Her story featured in the recent Panorama programme: “Britain’s cancer Crisis.”

The petition is a major part of the family’s “Catch Up With Cancer,” launched with the campaigning group Radiotherapy4Life over concerns that authorities are not reacting to the cancer care crisis with the urgency needed.

Campaigners have insisted that the government and NHS leaders’ suggestion that cancer services could be back to normal by the end of the year is “far too slow.”

Ms Smith’s parents, Craig and Mandy Russell, said that they were “deeply grateful” for the response.

“Now we are calling on people to share the petition and the campaign, so we can catch up with cancer and save thousands of lives,” they said. 

“We know Kelly would be happy to know we are continuing this vital work.”

Radiotheraphy4Life founder professor Pat Price said: “The reaction to the campaign and petition messages of response makes clear the feelings of patients and the public; there are more heartbreaking stories and passionate demands. 

“We have to get cancer services up and running much quicker than the end of the year and boost radiotherapy services to play a vital role in catching up with cancer. 

“Kelly’s story is a tragedy. But we can do something to save lives and we must act now.”

The petition can be signed and shared at Change.org/CatchUpWithCancer.

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