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Essex CCG launches new pilot to improve early cancer diagnosis

A CCG in Essex has launched a new pilot scheme aimed at improving early diagnosis of cancer in the run-up to World Cancer Day this weekend.

The ‘vague symptoms’ pilot – which will offer patients with vague but concerning symptoms a rapid route to diagnostic tests – begins this week in seven GP practices across mid-Essex, the area covered by Mid Essex CCG.

It is hoped that the pilot will improve the rate of early diagnosis for patients, with research showing that early detection of cancer can lead to much better chances of successful treatment.

“The best way of tackling and beating cancer is to help our GPs and patients recognise early signs of suspected cancer,” said Dr Elizabeth Towers, Macmillan GP for Mid Essex CCG.

“Sometimes people go to see their GP with vague symptoms that may or may not be cancer. We’re hoping that by supporting GPs with their patients we can improve early diagnosis.”

During the pilot, due to last for 12 months, doctors from the seven practices will work closely with a clinical nurse specialist and consultants at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust to quickly identify patients who may be demonstrating symptoms of cancer.

The pilot is one of three across the East of England which will be nationally evaluated in order to measure their impact on early cancer diagnosis.

The pilot has been announced in the run-up to World Cancer Day, an event led by the charity Cancer Research UK. Late last year, the charity forecast that death rates from cancer will fall by 15% by 2035 thanks to forthcoming research advances.

(Image c. Mid Essex CCG)

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