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Health written question – answered on 27th June 2012.

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Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of retinoblastoma.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

Since 2005, ‘Improving outcomes for children and young people with cancer’, published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), has supported trusts in planning, commissioning and organising services for children and young people with cancer, including retinoblastoma. One of its recommendations is the establishment of support for professionals in primary and secondary care in the recognition and referral of suspected cancer in children and young people.

This guidance is complemented by ‘Referral for suspected cancer’, also published by the NICE in 2005, which sets out best practice advice on referral for suspected cancer in adults and children. The guidance covers a wide range of cancers, including retinoblastoma, and identifies key symptoms and evidence to consider when referring a patient for suspected cancer.

These sets of guidance are continuing to support the commissioning of quality services for children and young people with cancer in the reformed national health service.

During 2011, departmental officials met two charities for children and young people with cancer, with the aim of identifying some of the barriers to early diagnosis and to discuss potential solutions. This work has been fed into the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative and will inform future activity in this area.

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