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World Cancer Day 2023: 'Close The Care Gap'

World Cancer Day is an international day led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to raise awareness of the prevention, detection of cancer and treatment.

It's recognised on 4 February and 2023 will mark the second year of a three-year campaign - 'Close The Care Gap' - seeking to reduce on a global scale the inequalities in accessing cancer services. 

The focus of the campaign is about uniting individuals, organisations, advocates and policymakers in calling for change and taking action. Furthermore there is recognition of progress in its many forms, which enable more individuals to seek and receive cancer care, not only advances in medical treatment, but encouraging wider communities to provide support  – such as offering transport to an individual receiving cancer treatment.  

Research demonstrates there are global inequities in cancer services based on socio-economic factors such as location, income, education.  Such inequalities are also evident in well-resourced countries, including the UK.  A report produced by Cancer Research UK in 2020 identified 30,000 cancer cases were attributed to socio-economic and financial deprivation.  Individuals from deprived areas are not only more likely to get cancer, they are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage for certain cancer types, and have difficult accessing cancer care services.

Accessing care and support

In my role as a specialist workplace illness lawyer, I recognise the importance of an individual diagnosed with cancer being able to access care and support; it can have a significant impact on their experience and quality of life.   Whilst in many workplace injury civil claims we can secure damages to access private care and rehabilitation packages, should these be necessary, it is equally important to raise awareness that all those diagnosed with cancer should be able to access personalised care and support.

Hospices play a vital role in offering care and support and such care can be accessed at any stage for those diagnosed with a life-limiting cancer - it does not necessarily need to be in final stages.  For example, earlier access to hospice care can improve an individual’s quality of life through access to pain management and rehabilitative palliative care.  Furthermore hospices provide practical and emotional support to their patients and their loved ones.   

Practical support and advice can also be sought from charities.  I have seen first-hand the level of support provided to clients by several national charities, including Mesothelioma UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Maggie’s.  These charities have provided invaluable support to clients when navigating their mesothelioma or lung cancer diagnosis and make a positive difference to client’s and their loved ones lives.  The charities can provide advice regarding accessing various treatments, services and care related government benefits.

At Irwin Mitchell, clients who have developed workplace illnesses and their loved ones are also supported by client support managers, Michaela Morris and Jaqueline Bates, who have experience of working in areas such as the NHS, hospices and social services.  Michaela and Jaqueline have supported those diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer and other types of cancer such as sino-nasal cancer.  Michaela and Jaqueline aim to ensure our clients are accessing all the care and support services available to them, and can also offer emotional and practical advice. 

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people and families affected by mesothelioma, lung cancer and other types of cancer whether as a result of their work or as a result of a diagnosis delay, at our website.