Implementation of "more patient-centered" plans will help in saving 11,000 lives a year, said Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, UK.
The new measures will make sure that cancer services are delivered more effectively around the needs of patients and their families, by limiting the period of uncertainty and fear that arises when people think they may have cancer.
AdvertisementThe "more patient-centered" plans will be implemented and from 2020 patients will be given a definitive cancer diagnosis leading to treatment within 28 days of being referred by a GP. The target will be underpinned by an expected £300 million more to be spent on diagnostics a year by 2020.
"For people who are worried they may have cancer, waiting for that all-important test result is a nerve-wracking time. We have a duty to make sure this period of uncertainty is as short as possible. For those who get the all-clear, they will have peace of mind sooner. Those who sadly have cancer will get treatment much quicker and we will save thousands of lives as a result," said Hunt.
He also announced that "tailored recovery package" will be developed for every person suffering with cancer and to access personal health information such as information on treatment and test results online.
Also with independent cancer taskforce's on molecular diagnostics around 20,000 more people a year will have their cancers genetically tested to identify the most effective treatments, reducing unnecessary chemotherapy sessions. The NHS will identify five hospitals across the UK to pilot the target before the program is rolled out nationally to cover all cancers by 2020.
Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive and chair of the independent cancer taskforce, said, "These commitments are going to save thousands of lives and deliver a step change in patient experience and quality of life, so this is fantastic news. Diagnosing more cancers earlier could transform patients' lives as it improves survival. But we've shown that services for diagnosing cancer are under immense pressure, which is why increased investment and extra staff are so important."
"Introducing the 28-day ambition for patients to receive a diagnosis will maximize the impact of this investment which, together with making results available online, will spare people unnecessary added anxiety and help cancer patients to begin treatment sooner," he added.