Next steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View: NHS action to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer means 5,000 more lives to be saved within two years

Within two years, over 5,000 more people a year will survive cancer, meaning the NHS is on track to meet the ambitions of the cancer taskforce thanks to better prevention, earlier diagnosis and innovative new treatments for cancer.

Cancer survival rates are at a record high, with an estimated 7,000+ more people surviving cancer after NHS treatment compared with three years earlier, and with more people accessing cancer testing, funding for new, effective drug treatments and diagnostics, and continued action to reduce smoking.

One in three people will get cancer in their lifetime and due to the country’s ageing population and increasing numbers being referred for testing, it is essential we expand diagnostic capacity.

The new Five Year Forward View ‘Next Steps’ Plan now aims to further improve cancer survival by an extra 5,000 people and improve experience of care over the next two years, with a range of improvements including:

  • Patients having better access to the latest treatments, with roll-out of the largest radiotherapy upgrade programme in 15 years, with an extra £94m to be spent on equipping hospitals with state of the art linear accelerators (LINACs).
  • Patients being tested sooner with investment in greater diagnostic capacity, including 10 new Rapid Diagnostic and Assessment Centres. This will be measured through the new 28 day faster diagnosis standard which will be rolled out from April 2018.
  • Personalised care and support being offered to patients during treatment and for those recovering from cancer, improving their quality of life and experience of care.

Cally Palmer, National Director for Cancer at NHS England, said: “Two years ago we set ourselves a real challenge to radically improve prevention, earlier diagnosis, and ensure the availability of modern treatments for all patients wherever they live.

“Quality of NHS cancer care continues to improve, with cancer survival at record highs, but there is still variation across the country, which is why our focus now is catching more cancers early when they can be best treated and we are also rolling out guarantee of definitive diagnosis or the all clear within 28 days.

“We are committed to push forward with our plans to transform cancer services, making a real difference for patients across the country and creating services that will be among the very best in the world.”