It is one of the greatest health perils that can affect us, but as the NHS attacks cancer in England, and as the rate of survival is the highest it’s ever been, things are really looking not that good for the scariest condition of them all.
A new strategy by the NHS promises to do a lot for the health of cancer patients in the UK. The NHS’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, said that as many as one in two people are diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. To combat this, there will be allocated £2 billion to investment in new equipment. Subsequently, there are also new guidelines and regulations that will be put into action.
The greater goal of this strategy is to increase frequency and number of people going for cancer tests. Consequently, the second part of this goal is to accurately diagnose these people within one month. Up until now, this has not been the case, as the waiting time for cancer tests has frequently surpassed that proposed for the final, correct verdict. In these conditions, it is easy to see why diagnoses arrive so often so late.
The main issue with the above is that, as Stevens says, two fifths of the cancer cases are preventable. Yet, the more the patients wait for their diagnoses, the more likely it is for the cancer to evolve uncontrollably, especially if it is found in an aggressive form.
To achieve the task of saving 30 thousand lives by 2020, the NHS wishes to achieve these specific measures within five years
As much as 95 percent of the patients are to be given definite and correct diagnosis of their condition within four weeks from their first consulting a doctor. Patients are to be able to refer themselves for tests, and not wait or approval. General practitioners will subsequently be in power to decide whether further tests (such as CAT scans) are necessary. These measures are supposed to achieve and 80 percent increase in overall cancer tests. To these is added the aforementioned £2 billion investment in equipment as well as a nationwide plan for reducing smoking and obesity.
The result of all these measures would be that those 30 thousand lives will, by 2020, have lived an extra 10 years with their cancers retreating. To combat lung cancer, the NHS also plans to boost the “fat tax” on cigarettes, rising their price to 15 pounds, or about 24 dollars per pack.
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