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'One-stop shops' set to speed up cancer diagnosis

From BBC - April 2, 2018

"One-stop shops" aimed at speeding up cancer diagnosis are being introduced across England.

The aim is to catch the disease earlier and prevent patients from being referred for several tests for different forms of the illness.

Patients often face delays when they have non-specific symptoms.

NHS England says this is a "step change" in the way people with suspected cancer are diagnosed and treated.

The rapid diagnosis and then treatment of cancer can be vital in saving lives.

While cancer survival rates have improved dramatically over recent decades, patients who are not displaying very obvious signs of the illness sometimes struggle to access quickly the help they need.

Those with more vague symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, reduced appetite or abdominal pain can be referred several times for different tests for different cancers, all wasting valuable opportunities to start treatment.

Other symptoms can include fatigue, unexplained sweats or generally feeling unwell.

NHS England is now adopting an approach first developed in Denmark, by introducing 10 specialist rapid diagnostic and assessment centres, where patients will receive all the necessary investigations under one roof.

'Unclear symptoms'

Cally Palmer, national director for Cancer at NHS England, says the new centres could play a key role in improving diagnosis and treatment.

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