The UK Government has outlined plans to introduce a variety of measures to facilitate the early diagnosis of cancer in order to ensure more people survive the disease each year.
The measures will be rolled out as part of the government’s long-term plan for the National Health Service (NHS).
Patients diagnosed at earlier stages (1 or 2) are known to have the best chance of long-term survival. Currently, around 52% of the top ten cancers are diagnosed at stages 1 and 2, which the new plan aims to increase to 75% by 2028.
Specifically, the plan will restructure screening programmes; invest in new technology that can improve the cancer diagnosis process; and strengthen research work.
The overhaul of screening programmes is intended to improve access and ease of use. Further upgrades will include new bowel cancer tests, mobile units for lung screening and launch of rapid diagnostic centres for same-day testing.
In addition, the new measures will involve the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to better target at-risk populations.
The government also plans to lower the recommended starting age for bowel cancer screening from 60 to 50 and adopt the new Faecal Immunochemical Test for earlier cancer diagnosis.
Access to innovative treatments will be expedited via quicker advancement of new breakthroughs into practice. The UK intends to achieve this with investment in cancer research centres.
The government further awarded a total of £1.7m funding to three Scottish companies – RoslinCT, Stormid and Daysix, to support the development of new healthcare technologies.
RoslinCT will work with ReproCELL on stem cell therapies, Stormid will develop digital services for lung disorder patients and Daysix will create a clinical decision support app for trauma care.