11 December 2012
Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s confirmation today at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer’s Britain Against Cancer conference  that pilot screening programmes will be launched in England in 2013 to test new ways of identifying bowel and cervical cancer, Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Research at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“Early diagnosis ensures that people living with cancer get swift access to treatment, gives them the best possible chance of recovery and, in some cases, saves lives. The Government’s announcement today that they will launch pilot programmes to test more effective ways of screening for bowel and cervical cancers is a positive step towards improving survival rates in the UK.
“The current cervical screening programme is successful, but there is room for improvement when it comes to diagnosing the cancer at an early stage. It is notoriously difficult to spot cervical cancer early on as there are no real symptoms. The pilot programme, however, is more sensitive than the existing screen test and would mean that those with a higher risk of developing cervical cancer are identified early on and those with a lower risk could be tested less frequently.
“Widening the age range of people currently invited for bowel cancer screening to include everyone over 55 and offering a flexible medical examination alongside the existing faecal occult blood test would help to diagnose more people before the cancer has reached an advanced stage, meaning that treatment could be more effective.
“We look forward to the results of the pilots and, if successful, would hope to see these rolled out across the UK to help more people survive cancer.”
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Notes to Editors:
1 The Britain Against Cancer conference is an annual event organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC). The event brings together everyone who has an interest in improving cancer services in the UK. http://www.macmillan.org.uk/GetInvolved/APPG/BritainAgainstCancer/BritainAgainstCancer.aspx
About the All Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC)
The APPGC was founded in 1998 to keep cancer at the top of the political agenda, and to ensure that policy-making remains patient centred. The Group brings together MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum to debate key issues and campaign together to improve cancer services.
The APPG on Cancer holds regular meetings and has recently discussed such vital issues as the NHS cancer plan, professional and financial side effects of cancer, genetics, public health, and cancer and private health care, attracting an impressive range of speakers and a wide audience of MPs and cancer organisations.
About the Secretariat
The Secretariat to the APPGC is provided by Macmillan Cancer Support and supported by a stakeholder group of organisations including Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Cancer Black Care, Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care, the Men's Health Forum, the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Rarer Cancer's Forum.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Cancer is the toughest fight most of us will ever face. But you don’t have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way.
We are the nurses and therapists helping you through treatment. The experts on the end of the phone. The advisers telling you which benefits you’re entitled to. The volunteers giving you a hand with the everyday things. The campaigners improving cancer care. The fundraisers who make it all possible.
We are Macmillan Cancer Support.