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Government’s cancer plans “could save thousands of lives”

4 October 2010

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The Department of Health has said government plans to tackle cancer could see thousands of lives saved every year.

As dissent over public health reforms increased, Prime Minister David Cameron revealed a number of measures he was keen to introduce to ensure the UK has one of the best survival rates from cancer in the world.

Under the plans, new bowel cancer screening technology will be put in place, potentially saving 3,000 lives a year.

The Department of Health said new cancer therapies would be introduced that could benefit around 2,000 patients this year alone.

Other measures set out include expanding radiotherapy capacity to ensure better treatments, and increasing the number of specialists in cancer services to 1,200 by 2012.

The government has also pledged to invest £43m more over the spending review period so all high-priority patients get access to proton beam therapy – an advanced form of radiotherapy which targets cancers with minimal damage to healthy tissue.

This could benefit 400 patients per year by the end of the period, it said.

The investment comes on top of another £60m, which would be channelled into bowel cancer screening during the next four years, and run alongside a £10.75m signs and symptoms campaign.

According to government estimates, the drive to raise awareness about breast, lung and bowel cancers could mean up to 500 people being diagnosed earlier, increasing the chances of successful treatment.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Department of Health