The impact of COVID-19 pandemic in England

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the care provided to patients with cancer, with delays in diagnosis and treatment due to the steps taken to mitigate transmission of the virus, changes to the provision of services due to capacity pressures and patients being reluctant to seek care.


In this section we focus on the changing patterns of prostate cancer services and their use during 2020. This was possible due to analysis of rapid cancer registration data (RCRD) linked to other datasets which were available for England only.

We describe the changing activity of prostate cancer services over time (from 1st January 2020 – 31st December 2020) including diagnosis and treatment, and compare this with the ‘usual’ activity during the same time periods in 2019. Comparable data from the same diagnostic and/or treatment periods were not available for Wales.

We found that in April-June 2020 (compared to the same period in 2019):

  • diagnoses reduced by more than half
  • radical surgery reduced by half
  • radical radiotherapy reduced by just less than half

From July onwards there was an increase in the number of diagnoses and radical treatments carried out with an increase in radical radiotherapy in the middle of the year. However, overall during 2020, diagnoses and radical treatments did not return to normal levels of activity (see below)

COVID-19 Impact infographic thumbnail

We also report patterns of changes around the country in the numbers of men diagnosed and treated, in addition to changing treatments received for men with advanced disease reflecting updated NICE guidance during the first phase of the pandemic. Details of these results can be found in the links below.

Annual Report 2021 including Impact of COVID 19

Last updated: 11 January 2023, 5:17pm