NHS to prioritise early cancer detection

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that monitoring one-year survival will be central to measuring progress in transforming cancer care.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Hancock set out how the NHS will deliver on its commitments to improve early detection of cancer, explaining that screening programmes will be overhauled and diagnosis made faster and more accurate with new state-of-the-art technology.

NHS England set the ambition for three-quarters of all cancers to be detected at an early stage and 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years each year by 2028, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, launched in January. The Implementation Framework, agreed by the NHS and laid in Parliament, provides a blueprint for how this will be achieved at a local level.

Other steps in the framework include: more investment in research and innovation; the roll-out of new Rapid Diagnostic Centres across the country, building on the success of a pilot scheme with Cancer Resarch UK; NHS England extending lung health checks, targeting areas with the lowest survival rates; and Health Education England increasing the cancer workforce, which will lead to 400 clinical endoscopists and 300 reporting radiographers by 2021.

Hancock said: “Early detection and diagnosis are essential to improving a person’s chance of survival from cancer. Since 2010, cancer survival has improved year-on-year but, historically, our survival rates have lagged behind the best performing countries in Europe. In our Long Term Plan for the NHS, we set out a clear ambition to resolve this – and this framework sets out a step-by-step blueprint for local leaders to make that a reality. I am determined that our cancer care will not be just good enough, but truly world-class and today I have set out how we will do just that.”

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