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MPs: 'Lost momentum' in improving cancer services

MPs have warned that the Department of Health and NHS England have "lost momentum" in improving cancer services in the last two years.

MPs: 'Lost momentum' in improving cancer services. Credit: PA

While survival rates continue to improve, nearly a third of people still die within a year of being diagnosed and around half do not survive for five years. This places the UK in a poor position compared to the rest of Europe, the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

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Chris Evans undergoing tests for prostate cancer

Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans has told listeners he is "in the middle of the tests" for prostate cancer.

Radio 2 breakfast show host Chris Evans Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The presenter talked about it after former Small Faces and The Who drummer Kenney Jones, who himself survived prostate cancer, appeared on his breakfast show in support of a charity campaign.

Evans told listeners: "I've got to say I'm in the middle of a prostate issue right now."

He said he had gone to see a doctor after he couldn't stop peeing, and that he scared himself "half to death" when he researched the subject on the internet.

Evans said he used to be "scared" of medical tests but added he had "completely changed my tune on this the last couple of years".

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DoH: £50m invested in early cancer diagnosis

Department of Health officials have said that £50m has been invested in early cancer diagnosis in the wake of a investigation into GPS referring patients.

We have already invested #450 million in early diagnosis of cancer, and, as the Office for National Statistics says, survival rates are at record highs.

Direct GP access to diagnostic tests is one pathway that helps with this, but there has also been a 50% increase in GPs' use of the urgent suspected cancer referral pathway over the last four years.

GPs directly requested over a quarter of all tests that may have been used to diagnose cancer in June 2014 and we delivered a record 1.6 million diagnostic tests in July 2014, compared with 1.2 million in April 2010.

– Department of Health (DoH) spokesman

GP's 'prevented' from directly referring cancer patients

An investigation has found that half of GPs are prevented from directly referring suspected bowel or brain cancer patients for scans.

Patients face a "postcode lottery" of services due to restrictions imposed by some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), according to GP magazine, which carried out the study.

GP's 'prevented' from directly referring cancer patients. Credit: PA

Freedom of Information (FOI) responses from 182 CCGs, which organise the delivery of NHS services in England, found 49% barred GPs from directly accessing MRI scans for suspected brain cancer patients.

Meanwhile, 50% of CCGs said they did not commission direct access to flexible sigmoidoscopy tests in cases of suspected bowel cancer, the study found.

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