The announcement last week that King Charles had been diagnosed with cancer has been met with sympathy and support for the 75-year-old. But alongside the focus on what it means for his future role as monarch, it has also led to a closer examination of what cancer care looks like in the UK in 2024.

For many, such as 37-year-old Nathaniel Dye, it has meant a diagnosis that has come too late. He has stage 4 bowel cancer, which has spread to other parts of his body. Dye has been told that in similar cases only 10% of people survive five years.

The Guardian’s health editor, Andrew Gregory, tells Michael Safi that cancer care in the NHS is beset by long waiting lists. While survival rates have never been higher, the numbers of people coming forward with symptoms have also never been higher. It means that up to a third of people face deadly delays to their care with early detection and treatment so vital.

Medical staff working in a hospital ward

Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

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