Health written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Labour, Sefton Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what specialist services are currently available in hospitals to support patients diagnosed with cancers of unknown origin; and what plans he has to change the mandated minimum provision of such services.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

In July 2010, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published the clinical guideline, “Metastatic malignant disease of unknown primary origin: Diagnosis and management of metastatic malignant disease of unknown primary origin”. This guidance set out best practice on care treatment and support of patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP).

On the matter of support provided to patients, the guidance sets out that every hospital with a cancer centre or unit should establish a CUP team, in which a designated CUP specialist nurse or key worker should ensure that the patient and their carers can receive information, advice and support about diagnosis, treatment, palliative care, spiritual and psychosocial concerns

CUP services are subject to assessment and assurance through the National Peer Review programme (NPRP) which provides quality assurance for cancer services. Assessment of compliance is made against clearly defined measures. More information on the NPRP and CUP measures can be found at the following link:

Finally, NHS England would expect that the treatment and care for patients with CUP reflects patients' needs and preferences and that services take into account the relevant NICE guidelines.

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