Early diagnosis of cancer

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced plans for the earlier diagnosis of cancer. 

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As part of the long-term plan for the NHS, a package of measures will be rolled out across the country with the aim of seeing 3 out of 4 of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028.  The plan will:

  • overhaul screening programmes
  • provide new investment in state-of-the-art technology to transform the process of diagnosis
  • boost research and innovation

Screening programmes will be made more accessible and easier to use. They will be based on the latest breakthrough research and technology. Those at risk will be able to benefit from options including:

  • new tests for bowel cancer
  • mobile lung screening units
  • the roll-out of rapid diagnostic centres across the country with same-day testing

Full story: Government announces plans for earlier diagnosis for cancer patients

New resource for patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes

NHS Digital | August 2018 | Type 1 diabetes 

NHS Digital have developed a new interactive resource for patients with type 1 diabetes. The resource is intended to equip people with Type 1 with the knowledge and confidence to manage their diabetes. 

The section on ‘newly diagnosed- things to help’ which includes resources on how to inject insulin, checking blood glucose levels and appointments and check ups as well as useful advice around living with the condition. They are encouraging healthcare  professionals to refer newly diagnosed patients, their parents and carers to the site as a ‘one stop shop’ for Type 1 Diabetes support. 
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NHS Digital type 1 

Related:
NHS Digital Get Support 

After diagnosis of dementia: what to expect from health and social care services

Department of Health and Social Care | May 2018 | After diagnosis of dementia: what to expect from health and social care services

A new report from the Department of Health and Social Care examines the role of advanced care planning and explores the barriers to its implementation as identified by people with incurable cancer and health and social care professionals.  It also examines opportunities for change and sets out responsibilities of governments and policy makers.

This document is for anyone diagnosed with dementia and the people who care for them. It has details about what support they should get.  It also includes information about:

  • what is in a care plan
  • how health care and social care services can help
  • support available to family and friends who are carers
  • how to take part in research

The full guidance is available to read from Department of Health and Social Care 

NHS England : ‘One stop shop’ marks a ‘step change’ in the identification, treatment and diagnosis of cancer

NHS England  | New ‘one stop shops’ for cancer to speed up diagnosis and save lives  |

Rapid diagnostic and assessment centres are being piloted in ten areas as part of NHS England’s drive to catch cancer early and speed up diagnosis for people with cancer.  These pilots form the Accelerate, Co-ordinate and Evaluate (ACE 2) Early Diagnosis Programme, a joint initiative by NHS England, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan.   These new centres are part of NHS’s plan to meet the new faster diagnosis standard, where patients with suspected cancer should receive a diagnosis or the all clear within 28-days.   Those diagnosed, with cancer can be referred on to specialists,  those with benign conditions will be directed to appropriate treatment and receive tailored advice about prevention. It is anticipated that if the pilot is successful the programme will be rolled out across England.

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While these pilots  are the first multidisciplinary diagnostic centres in England, the concept comes from Denmark, where it was developed in response to patients presenting with vague symptoms being referred for multiple tests, when they required an urgent diagnosis.
All of the centres have the same purpose – to diagnose cancers early in people who do not have ‘alarm symptoms’ for a specific type of cancer, but each of will operate in a different way to address the needs of their local communities. The ten centres are located at:

  • North Middlesex University Hospital,
  • University College London Hospital,
  • Southend University Hospital,
  • Queens Hospital
  • Royal Free Hospital
  • St James University Hospital
  • Airedale General Hospital
  • University Hospital South Manchester
  • Royal Oldham Hospital
  • Churchill Hospital

The full post and further details of the programme can be found at NHS England 

In the media: BBC News  ‘One-stop shops’ set to speed up cancer diagnosis

NHS takes 40 days to diagnose patients with cancer, study finds

The average time for a patient in England to be diagnosed with cancer is 40 days, a new study suggests | British Journal of General Practice | story via The Independent

Research published in the British Journal of General Practice has found that in 2014 the median number of days from first relevant presentation to the date of diagnosis was 40 days. This ranged from 15 days to 86 days.

The findings identify avenues for quality improvement activity and provide a baseline for future audit of the impact of 2015 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on management and referral of suspected cancer.

Health officials have set a target for all cancer patients to be diagnosed within 28 days by 2020.

Full reference: Swann, R. et al. | Diagnosing cancer in primary care: results from the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit | British Journal of General Practice | 18 December 2017

New approach to NHS clinical assessment could save thousands of lives

NHS England is asking every hospital trust to adopt the Royal College of Physicians’ new clinical assessment system, The National Early Warning
Score (NEWS) 

The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) has been produced by the Royal College of Physicians and is backed by the Royal College for Emergency Medicine, NHS Improvement, the Association of Ambulance Chairs and Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director for NHS England.

The system was developed by the Royal College of Physicians with the aim of creating a standardised approach to clinical assessment across the country.

It is estimated that the NEWS is now being used in over 70% of trusts but NHS England is setting the goal of having the system in place across every acute and ambulance setting by 2019.

Having the NEWS adopted as the standard system will mean NHS staff who move between trusts are using a consistent set of measures for diagnosing patients.

Full story at NHS England

Diagnosing cancer in primary care

The British Journal of General Practice has published Diagnosing cancer in primary care: results from the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit. This audit shows that GPs are doing a good job at identifying patients they suspect of having cancer, and referring them in an appropriate and timely manner within five days of initial presentation. The findings highlight the usefulness of audits in taking a stocktake of where primary cancer is in cancer diagnosis across the NHS, and identifying areas for improvement moving forward.