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If only brain tumour research could be funded in the same way as leukaemia and other cancers

New Cancer Test Targets Announced

Cancer Results 2020 (1)On Sunday, the Government announced a 28 day target for all cancer diagnoses in England. The plan is part of a system wide shake-up recommended by the Independent Cancer Taskforce, which published its plan this summer. The aim is to ensure that by 2020, 95% of patients will receive a diagnosis or the all-clear within 28 days of being referred by a GP. The estimated cost of this plan is £300 million a year until 2020 and is projected to save up to 11,000 lives a year by catching cancers earlier.

The plan is just one of the many recommendations made by the Independent Cancer Taskforce and is the first to be rolled out in earnest. The initial plan will see five centres across the country trial the new service before a national scheme is implemented. The 95% target is ambitious and the Department of Health has stated that this is an ambition rather than promise, with this target set to be revised if initial trials suggest it is unattainable.
We are delighted to see that the Independent Taskforce’s ideas are being put into action so quickly and hope that these plans are given the money, time and support from the NHS and Department of Health to work. As we know, early diagnosis allows treatment to start earlier – before tumours grow and spread – and give patients a much better chance of survival. Brain tumours are one cancer that is particularly likely to be diagnosed late, mainly in A&E, and we hope that this new plan can provide an express route to diagnosis and treatment.

While we are happy that this plank of the Taskforce’s recommendations are being implemented, we are worried by the lack of action taken to improve research into cancers such as brain tumours. Brain tumours receive just 1% of the national spend on cancer research, a fraction of what is it needed to improve treatments and survival rates of brain tumour patients. Research is the best way to improve survival rates and outcomes for patients and their families and we hope that the Government joins us in a commitment to providing the best possible future for brain tumour patients.

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