National health services pumps in £20m (US$23m) to help improve cancer diagnosis

UK – The National Health Services is investing £20m (US$23m) into the British health system in a bid to measures for rapid cancer diagnosis and have more patients get checked for cancer.

Among the measures included in the package is tele dermatology, which is being used to diagnose skin cancer rapidly.

The funding will also be used to help speed up diagnosis for prostate cancer, by referring patients directly for an MRI scan by nurses rather than waiting for an appointment with a consultant.

Other measures include a cancer symptom hotline, where nurses will give patients advices relating to cancer symptoms and make referrals over the phone.

“The NHS has prioritized cancer treatment throughout the coronavirus pandemic and, alongside caring for 405,000 people with coronavirus in hospitals and delivering over 65 million vaccines, more than 350,000 people have also started treatment for cancer since it began,” said Cally Palmer, NHS national director for cancer.

The investment also came as a move to have the United Kingdom clear its cancer backlog by 2022 caused by the onset of the corona virus pandemic.

According to from the NHS, a concern was raised in reference to the number of people who did not turn up for an early diagnosis which was estimated to be approximately 36000.

The data further highlighted that an additional 16000 patients will currently have to wait for more than 62 days to receive their diagnosis of which about 12% will have cancer.

In separate news, a new more comfortable way of detecting breast cancer, which could enable tumors to be identified at an earlier stage is in the trial stage in the UK.

The new technique, called multiparametric MRI, was originally developed to evaluate liver diseases without the need for a painful biopsy, and is already in widespread used across Europe and the US.

Like conventional MRI, it uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to excite particles called protons in the tissue, using differences in the amount of time they take to settle to create a “map” of the various tissues in the breast.

However, by combining images created by different MR pulses and sequences, multiparametric MRI enables an even more detailed map to be created.

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