NHS England are introducing new ‘one-stop shops’ hoping to hasten cancer diagnosis which will be rolled out across London. The hope is that they will help to catch the disease earlier which would keep patients from being referred back several tests at various stages. This is because some patients face delays if they show non-specific symptoms. The concept of ‘rapid diagnosis’, which would be followed by treatment, can save lives.
Though cancer survival rates are improving over the last few decades, those who do not display obvious signs of cancer can struggle to get the help and treatment that they need. Some have even more vague symptoms including unexplained weight loss, reduced appetite, or abdominal pain. This could lead to them being referred several times for different tests for different cancers which is a waste of valuable time needed to start treatment. Symptoms also include fatigue, unexplained sweats, or generally feeling unwell.
NHS England will adopt an approach developed in Denmark that will see 10 specialist rapid diagnostic and assessment centres where patients receive all required investigations under one roof. “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,” Cally Palmer, national director for cancer at NHS England said. “These new one-stop shops represent a real step change in the way people with unclear symptoms are identified, diagnosed and treated.”