UK Government announces plan to improve cancer diagnosis

Monday 8 October 2018

Last week the Government announced it will roll out a package of measures across the country aimed at seeing three out of four of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028.

As part of the long-term plan for NHS England, the early diagnosis measures will include overhaul screening programmes, provide new investment in state-of-the-art technology to transform the process of diagnosis, and boost research and innovation.

This means screening programmes will be made more accessible and easier to use.

Alongside this, those presently at risk will be able to benefit from the roll-out of rapid diagnostic centres across the country with same-day testing.

What measures will be included?

As part of the new measures the Government will use artificial intelligence (AI) to better target at-risk populations and bring screening closer to home.

In addition to this, the measures will also speed up access to ground-breaking treatments with quicker translation of new breakthroughs into practice, through investment in world-leading cancer research centres.

Funding for these new measures will be allocated through NHS England's long-term plan .

The brain tumour community

Early diagnosis is absolutely paramount in securing better survival rates for those suffering with a brain tumour.

An estimated one in three people need to visit a medical professional more than five times or more before they receive a brain tumour diagnosis.

The presentation of symptoms and tumour location can make it difficult for GP's to appropriately recognise a brain tumour, with misdiagnosis a common occurrence.

The announcement will be welcome news for the brain tumour community where 53% of high grade brain tumours were diagnosed as an emergency in 2013 - more than any other cancer.

The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce

Last month, as part of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, we fed into NHS England's consultation on their long-term plan for the NHS.

We stressed the importance of early diagnosis in improving survival rates and outcomes for those diagnosed with cancer.

The Taskforce recently launched its campaign to double the five-year survival rate of the less survivable cancers – pancreatic, lung, oesophageal, brain, liver and stomach – from 14% to 28% by 2029.

Whilst survival rates of the most survivable cancers has increased considerably, decades-long legacy of neglect and underfunding has failed to improve early detection and diagnosis times of the five least survivable cancers.

Successive governments have failed to prioritise five cancers through a lack of public awareness, funding, research trials and treatments which has left many patients suffering with a less survivable cancer feeling they have effectively been written off.

We will change this.

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