Cancer treatment on the NHS is to get a £6m boost under new measures announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The investment will be used to fund clinical trials over the next five years for a specialist new radiotherapy, as Mr Hunt reiterated the government’s pledge to “aim high” to beat the disease.
“We must aim to be the best country in Europe for cancer diagnosis and treatment”
Mr Hunt said: “I want this country to stay at the forefront of the latest developments in cancer treatment − which is why I am delighted to announce that NHS England will be providing funding for the NHS costs of forthcoming Cancer Research UK clinical trials of a very specialist new radiotherapy.
“We know what a huge impact cancer has on patients and their families, so it is rightly a priority both for me and for NHS England to secure the most innovative technology to tackle it,” he added.
Other measures announced include co-operation between charities Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support to help GPs in ensuring quick cancer diagnoses.
Currently one-quarter of cancer patients are diagnosed in emergency circumstances, when symptoms are at an advanced stage, Mr Hunt said.
Macmillan will also work with cancer survivors under new plans from NHS England to promote physical activity to help with recovery, he added.
The Department of Health said around one million people have been treated in the UK for cancer in the past four years.
Death rates from the four most common cancers − breast, bowel, prostate and lung cancer − have fallen by 30% in the last two decades, Cancer Research UK said last week.
Mr Hunt said: “Beating cancer remains a gruelling battle, but it is one we can win if we are prepared to aim high. Aspiring simply to keep up with the European average isn’t good enough. We must aim to be the best country in Europe for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“Treatments, quality of care, clinical procedures, technology and pharmaceutical innovation are improving all the time and so it’s important that we continue to invest in cancer care.”