Cancer: Diagnosis

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 28th June 2019.

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Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Conservative, Bexleyheath and Crayford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase early diagnosis of cancers.

Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

To raise awareness of cancer symptoms and encourage people with symptoms to go to their doctor without delay, the Department of Health and Social Care, alongside Public Health England, have run 15 national Be Clear on Cancer awareness campaigns since 2010/11.

A Be Clear on Cancer ‘Blood in pee’ campaign ran across England from July to September 2018, aiming to improve early diagnosis of bladder and kidney cancer. Public Health England launched a new campaign, ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’, on 5 March to promote uptake of cervical screening.

As recommended by the UK National Screening Committee and the independent Cancer Taskforce, we are modernising our world-renowned cancer screening programmes by introducing Faecal Immunochemical Testing into the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme as soon as possible and human papillomavirus as the primary test in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme by 2020.

NHS England is establishing Rapid Diagnostic Centres across the country to upgrade and bring together the latest diagnostic equipment and expertise. The centres build on the 10 models piloted through the Accelerate, Coordinate and Evaluate programme, which have focussed on diagnosing cancers where patients often present with non-specific symptoms and may go to their general practitioner many times before being sent for appropriate tests.

NHS England is extending lung health checks, targeting clinical commissioning groups with the lowest survival rates. In Greater Manchester introducing low dose CT health checks saw an almost five-fold reduction in stage 4 disease, with 80% of cancers diagnosed at an early stage.

NHS England awarded around £5 million of funding to improve pathology services in 37 trusts across nine Cancer Alliances at the end of 2017/18.

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