Black and Asian people in England have to wait longer than White people for a cancer diagnosis, with some forced to wait an extra six weeks, a new damning report has revealed, revealing widespread racial discrimination in the UK.

According to the findings of a “disturbing” analysis of National Health Service (NHS) waiting times, published by the University of Exeter, minority ethnic patients are grappling with vast ethnic inequalities across the country’s healthcare system.

The analysis of 126,000 cancer patients over a decade (from 2006 to 2016) shows that the average period of time for a White person to be diagnosed since presenting symptoms is 55 days, while this period is 60 days (nine percent longer) for Asians and 61 days (11 percent longer) for the Black people.

The comparison shows that there might be fewer treatment options and less effective measures for non-White Britons.


Most notably, some of the differences in patients’ waiting times for specific cancers are incredibly stark. The average time for White people to get a diagnosis of oesophagogastric cancer is 53 days, while Asian people have to wait for 100 days, nearly twice as White people.

Furthermore, in myeloma, the third most common type of blood cancer, the median diagnosis wait time for White myeloma patients is 93 days, while the same period for Black patients is 127 days—more than a month longer.

Race and health leaders in the UK have called the results of the study as “deeply concerning” and “absolutely unacceptable.”

“These findings are deeply worrying, with potential life-altering consequences for the health of Black and Asian people,” Jabeer Butt, the chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation, was quoted as saying.

The differences are “disturbing” but “sadly not surprising,” he added, calling on the government to address the “underlying factors holding Black and Asian patients back from getting a fair chance when it comes to fighting cancer.”

Chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Michelle Mitchell, said that while the differences are “unlikely to be the sole explanation for the inequalities in cancer survival,” at the very least “extended wait times may cause additional stress and anxiety for ethnic minority patients.”

The study comes in the wake of a separate research on NHS procedures, showing that ethnic minority patients have worse outcomes when it comes to some cancers in England and are less likely to report positive healthcare experiences. (