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Thursday, August 6, 1998 Published at 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK


Ministers target 'unfashionable' killer

Big boost for cancer treatment

The Government is to spend an extra £10 million to boost the diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer.

Experts have welcomed the commitment to tackling an "unfashionable" disease that kills more people than any other cancer except cancer of the lung, but is preventable and treatable.

The money is intended to speed up access to specialist services for patients, reduce the time they have to wait for treatment and improve the quality of care they then receive.

Bids requested

Health authorities and hospitals will bid for funding to make improvements such as more radiotherapy and oncology sessions, more trained staff and better referrals from GPs.

The extra money has initially been budgeted for this year only, but it is expected to continue in the future.

[ image: Frank Dobson: 'Government committed to cancer fight']
Frank Dobson: 'Government committed to cancer fight'
Health Secretary Frank Dobson said the money showed the Government's commitment to fighting cancer.

Mr Dobson said: "Bowel cancer causes 19,000 deaths in this country every year. As such, it is second only to lung cancer and brings enormous distress to patients, who are often elderly, and their families."

Integrated effort

The group Colon Cancer Concern said the money should be used as part of an integrated effort to tackle the disease.

Chief executive Anne Keatley-Clarke said: "To achieve the best possible results with this money, we need to work within a coordinated long-term strategy. This must include bringing the different sectors together, especially the voluntary and public sectors.

"Public awareness of bowel cancer is shockingly low, but by working together we can get the message across that the UK's second largest cancer killer is highly preventable and also curable, if people know what action to take."

Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, said: "Mr Dobson is to be congratulated on this cash boost for a cancer which is totally unfashionable, yet the second most deadly in the UK."

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