New cancer screening plans unveiled

13 December 2012 09:19

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined the new pilot programmes designed to help diagnose cancer earlier

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined the new pilot programmes designed to help diagnose cancer earlier

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed plans for new cancer screening programmes that could save up to 3,000 lives a year. It is hoped the schemes, which will begin with a series of pilot programmes across England, will boost the country's mortality rate for cancer and bring it into line with the lowest in Europe.

A pilot bowel cancer screening programme for the over-55s is designed to help doctors find and remove polyps before they become cancerous. The bowel cancer programmes will be held in West Kent, Wolverhampton, Norwich, St Mark's London, Surrey and South of Tyne. Finding and treating cancer earlier could also make it easier to prepare for how the illness could affect people's lives, such as making sure they have adequate travel insurance for cancer patients ahead of travelling abroad.

A pilot test for cervical cancer is also being launched by the Government in a bid to reduce the amount of screening needed by women.

Speaking at the Britain Against Cancer conference in London, Mr Hunt said: "All the cancer specialists say that one thing they need more than anything else is to get to see people more quickly, at an earlier stage of their cancer. So there's work that needs to happen with the GP community, the pilots for bowel cancer and cervical cancer that I've announced today are positive steps. But overall improving early diagnosis is absolutely critical."

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