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DATA-CAN COVID-19 research features on BBC NI Spotlight programme

21st October 2020
Research and modelling from DATA-CAN: The UK’s Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, featured on BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme on Tuesday 20 October.

Research and modelling from DATA-CAN: The UK’s Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, featured on BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme on Tuesday 20 October.

Prof Mark Lawler, DATA-CAN’s scientific lead and Professor of Digital Health at Queen’s University Belfast, was interviewed for the programme, which looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer services and patients in Northern Ireland.

Sharing DATA-CAN’s real time data which showed that, during lockdown, there was been a significant reduction in urgent referrals for potential cancer and a reduction in chemotherapy attendance, Prof Lawler told the programme that this could have a significant impact on five year survival rates for people with cancer.

Professor Lawler said, “Health services and government’s need to respond. There needs to be a significant increase in the number of cancer patients being diagnosed and treated. We can’t just go back to the old normal. We estimate that we need to be working at 130 per cent of capacity to respond effectively.”

He added, “This is potentially a cancer epidemic. It isn’t simply about overcoming COVID-19, It’s also about overcoming the effects of the virus on the whole health system.”

Watch the full programme here.