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Monday, December 17, 2012, Issue 100

Health Secretary sets out cancer care ambitions

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged to make England among the best in Europe in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer – and in the support offered to cancer survivors.

This is part of his broader ambition to see England become one of the leading countries at tackling the top five killers: cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and liver disease.

He was speaking at the Britain Against Cancer conference on 11 December and on publication of the second annual report by Professor Sir Mike Richards on improving cancer outcomes.

The Secretary of State applauded the continuing progress the report shows in reducing premature mortality from cancer, but he also pointed to important areas where improvement is still needed.

He emphasised the need to reduce variation across the country and close the gap with other European countries. He also stressed the need to respond to the challenge of helping more people to live well beyond cancer.

The areas where the government is promoting action are:
• Piloting new screening techniques to help early diagnosis, including flexible sigmoidoscopy for bowel cancer and more sensitive approaches to cervical screening;
• Changing behaviour: Extending the successful 'Be Clear on Cancer' awareness campaign in 2013 to include more types of cancer;
• Finding out what cancer survivors need: For the first time the government has asked cancer patients what they think about their own quality of life living with or beyond cancer;
• Improving treatment: £15m has been recently made available for the Radiotherapy Innovation Fund;
• Spreading excellence to bring the worst performing services into line with the best: using the growing data on outcomes and catalogue of NICE quality standards to improve performance.

Diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers will undoubtedly have a very important role to play in the government's plans for cancer care.

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