'One-stop Shops' For Cancer Diagnosis
“One-stop shops” aimed at speeding up cancer diagnosis are being introduced across England.
The aim is to catch the disease more quickly and avoid patients from being referred for several exams for different forms of the illness.
Patients often face postpones when they have non-specific symptoms.
NHS England says this is a “step change” in the way people with suspected cancer are diagnosed and treated.
The rapid diagnosis and then treatment of cancer can be vital in saving lives.
While cancer survival rates have improved dramatically over recent decades, patients who are not displaying very obvious signs of the illness sometimes struggle to access promptly the help they need.
Those with more vague symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, reduced craving or abdominal ache can be referred several times for different tests for different cancers, all wasting valuable opportunities to start treatment.
Other symptoms can include fatigue, unexplained sweats or generally feeling unwell.
NHS England is now adopting an approach first developed in Denmark – introducing 10 specialist rapid diagnostic and assessment centres where patients will receive all the necessary investigations under one roof.
Cally Palmer, national director for cancer at NHS England, says the new centres could play a key role in improving diagnosis and treatment.
“Early diagnosis is crucial to saving lives and peace of mind for patients, which is why we are driving forward plans to revolutionise our approach to cancer in this country, ” she said.
“These new one-stop stores represent a real step change in the way people with unclear symptoms are identified, diagnosed and treated.”
NHS England has developed the centres in collaboration with the cancer charities Macmillan and Cancer Research UK.
Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at CRUK, said: “We’re confident that these 10 pilot centres will give us a much better understanding of what’s needed to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of the persons with less obvious symptoms, improve their experience of care and, ultimately, survival rates.
“This is a first for this country and Cancer Research UK is delighted to be partnering with NHS England in this innovative initiative.
“The knowledge gained will support others looking to roll out similar approaches in future.”
The new centres will be spread across England, with the first 10 being located at 😛 TAGEND Royal Free Hospital, London North Middlesex Hospital, London, University College Hospitals London Southend University Hospital Queens Hospital, Romford St James University Hospital, Leeds Airedale General Hospital, West Yorkshire University Hospital, South Manchester Royal Oldham Hospital, Greater Manchester Churchill Hospital, Oxford