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16 September 2015 08:52
The Government is investing more in cancer diagnostics
Patients who may have cancer should know either way within four weeks of a GP referral from 2020, under new Government plans.
It is thought an additional £300 million annual investment in diagnostics will underpin this new target.
Health specialists think the standard, if achieved, could save a maximum of 11,000 lives each year.
The existing target is for suspected cancer patients to visit a specialist after no more than a fortnight, following a referral from their family doctor. No diagnosis time limit has been in place until now, however.
The Government wants the new guidelines to ensure that the waiting time for possible cancer patients is limited, with "tailored recovery" services fitted around their requirements.
Ministers say that patients could access their test results and treatment online, giving them extra control over their own health data.
Getting away from it all
Waiting for a diagnosis can be a challenging time. But cancer survivors and sufferers alike can find comfort in a break abroad.
They can get peace of mind with cancer-related travel insurance. This covers 24/7 medical assistance and lost medication.
What the Health Secretary says
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, called the period between being referred by a family doctor and getting diagnosed or getting the all-clear "nerve-wracking".
He says it is the Government's "duty" to make sure this uncertain time is kept to a minimum.
Diagnosed patients will receive treatment far quicker and consequently thousands of people will be saved, Mr Hunt added.
What happens now?
Five British hospitals will be singled out to trial the latest target ahead of the plan rolling out nationwide to include every cancer by the start of the next decade.
The trial follows a review into how the UK can better its cancer survival and care levels.
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