The second annual report on ‘Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer‘, published today, shows cancer survival rates are improving.
Speaking today at the Britain against Cancer Conference, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt emphasised the need to reduce variation across England, so all areas reach the excellent standards of the best.
He pledged to make England among the best in Europe at tackling the top 5 killers: cancer, stroke, and heart, respiratory and liver disease.
Watch Jeremy Hunt talk about wanting England to be the best in Europe at tackling cancer:
Or listen to the Audioboo:
The Health Secretary also stressed the need to respond to the challenge of helping more people to live well ‘beyond cancer’.
Many cancer survivors speak of feelings of isolation and abandonment. But they also need support with the effects of treatment, such as incontinence, which can have a profound impact on their quality of life.
The Secretary of State pointed to important areas where the Government is promoting action. These 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 we’ve asked cancer patients what they think about their own quality of life living with or beyond cancer. We’ll continue to collect and act on these views
- improving treatment: £165 million is being made available to expand radiotherapy capacity, including 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.
Jeremy Hunt said:
“It is simply unacceptable that our cancer survival rates lag behind that of our European neighbours. I want to make sure that our survival is among the best and NHS patients receive the best treatment available.”
Our chances of surviving cancer are 48% higher today than they were in 1970.
As well as improving survival rates, we need to respond to the challenge of supporting more people to live well, beyond cancer, if England is to be among the best in Europe at tackling cancer.
The first pilot survey of cancer survivors ‘The Quality of Life of Cancer Survivors in England’ is published alongside the second annual report on improving cancer outcomes.