Oldham and Wythenshawe Hospitals have been selected to pilot a new cancer prevention scheme that is being rolled out across the country.
The scheme aims to catch the disease earlier and prevent patients from being referred for several tests for different forms of the illness.
The Royal Hospital in Oldham and the South Manchester University Hospital In Wythenshawe are two of ten areas selected as part of NHS England’s drive to catch cancer early and speed up diagnosis for people with cancer.
Each of the centres will operate in a different way to ensure they meet the needs of their local communities. However, all have the same purpose – to diagnose cancers early in people who do not have ‘alarm symptoms’ for a specific type of cancer.
People with vague, non-specific symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, appetite loss or abdominal pain are often referred multiple times for different tests for different cancers, but these new centres will help end this cycle.
If a GP or other healthcare professional suspect cancer, they will now be able to refer to a one stop shop where all the necessary investigations can be done under one roof.
Some patients will receive a definitive diagnosis or all clear on the same day, while others will need to undergo further assessment, but can generally expect a diagnosis within two weeks of their first appointment.
Cally Palmer, National Director for Cancer at NHS England, said: “Early diagnosis is crucial to saving lives and providing peace of mind for patients, which is why we are driving forward plans to revolutionise our approach to cancer in this country. These new one stop shops represent a real step change in the way people with unclear symptoms are identified, diagnosed and treated.”
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of early diagnosis, said: “We’re confident that these ten pilot centres will give us a much better understanding of what’s needed to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of people with less obvious symptoms, improve their experience of care and, ultimately, survival. This is a first for this country and Cancer Research UK is delighted to be partnering with NHS England in this innovative initiative. The knowledge gained will support others looking to roll out similar approaches in future.”
Dr Rosie Loftus, joint chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “If cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage it can significantly improve someone’s chances of survival in the long term. This initiative is an important step in improving early diagnosis in England and Macmillan Cancer Support is proud to have partnered with NHS England in its development.”