The NHS is to be pressed to set specific targets for haematological cancer care following the launch of its Long-Term Plan last week.
Campaigners welcomed new targets for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and for the care of children with serious diseases. The plan includes the promise to ensure all children with cancer are offered whole genome sequencing, starting this year.
There are also promises to offer new opportunities for child and adolescent patients to take part in clinical trials.
The government says that by 2028 it wants 75% of patients with cancer to have the disease diagnosed at stages one and two. The charity Bloodwise said this was likely to benefit patients with myeloma and some types of lymphoma – although it would not be possible to diagnose some types of blood cancer at an early stage.
Bloodwise also welcomed a promise to roll out rapid diagnostic centres for cancer, to ensure that people with symptoms that don’t point to a specific condition can get a series of tests to rule out cancer.
The plan also suggests that cancer care could be more “supportive and personalised”. Bloodwise said this would be helpful to many haematology patients who feel they are sometimes “put on watch” instead of receiving immediate treatment.
A Bloodwise spokesperson said: “We’ll be asking NHS England to set themselves stretching and ambitious targets to improve diagnoses in blood cancer in order to give many hundreds of people diagnosed every year a greater prospect of living longer.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to ensure that the promises in the long-term five-year plan become a reality for people with blood cancer now and in the next decade.”
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