DoH invests £60m in bowel cancer screening

The government will spend £60m on new bowel cancer screening technology over the next four years, which could save 3,000 lives, the DoH says.

The money will allow GPs to offer patients novel flexible sigmoidoscopy screening for bowel cancer for free on the NHS.

In addition, £43m will be spent to ensure all high priority patients get access to new proton beam therapy, which should benefit 400 patients per year.

An additional 1,200 specialists will be hired for cancer services by 2012, and £10.75m will be given to raising cancer awareness campaigns.

The announcements join the £50m already allocated for novel cancer drugs currently unavailable on the NHS in England.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘I want the NHS to deliver cancer survival rates comparable to the best in the world.

‘We’re going to introduce an exciting new screening test for bowel cancer which could save up to 3,000 lives a year. We have secured the funding for a four-year roll out and will, subject to the green light from the UK National Screening Committee, begin pilots from spring next year.’

He added: ‘We will also, if evidence proves it is effective, introduce a national awareness campaign on the signs and symptoms of cancer, helping to ensure that people get diagnosed when their cancer can be cured.’

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