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One centre for cancer diagnoses trialled

Published on 03/04/18 at 10:31am

NHS England is trialling centres that should be able to provide rapid answers as to whether a patient has cancer or not.

The new centres will perform a battery of tests on those who are referred to the centres with symptoms that could be cancer, but aren’t immediately clearly indicating one type of cancer.

The types of symptoms that would fall under these guidelines would be unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, unexplained sweating or generally feeling unwell.

This type of screening has been recommended to the NHS after it was successfully introduced in Denmark.

In Denmark, the system means that people can be referred to the centres within hours of seeing a GP and patients can receive an answer as to whether their symptoms are cancer-related as quickly as within 24 hours.

The piloting of the scheme within England will see an overall aim of diagnosis or all-clear within 28 days of visiting a centre.

NHS England revealed the 10 hospitals that will trial the new method:

  • 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

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 people 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.”

Depending on the success of the trial, the system could be rolled out across England.

Ben Hargreaves

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