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Bowel cancer screening to include flexible sigmoidoscopy

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government is to invest an additional £164 million in cancer care by committing funding to new screening processes, therapies, and treatment.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the measures would save thousands of lives each year by focussing on earlier diagnosis and better and faster treatment, but said focus was also needed to improve ‘how well GPs do the job' of detecting early signs of cancer.

The Prime Minister revealed £60m will be spent on incorporating flexible sigmoidoscopy into the NHS bowel cancer screening programme. The process is designed to catch abnormalities before they become cancer, as opposed to faecal occult blood testing, which picks up early tumours.

Elsewhere, £50 million of the funding will be spent on cancer drugs funding, with money to train 1,200 additional specialists for improving cancer services by 2012, and to expand radiotherapy capacity. Some £10.75m will be spent on a campaign designed to encourage people with ‘persistent symptoms' to see their GP.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Cameron said GPs would have a pivotal role to play in driving the changes.

He said: ‘We're never going to get to the best levels in Europe unless we recognise the symptoms earlier and treat people earlier. It's not just money. This is about how well GPs do the job, and we need to improve that as well.'

Bowel cancer screening to include flexible sigmoidoscopy

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