Innovative Cancer Treatment Fund
There are around 367,000 cases of cancer every year. Cancer treatment continues to advance with new treatments and therapies regularly becoming available. The Cancer Drugs Fund was launched in 2011 to give patients access to innovative cancer drugs that might not otherwise be available on the NHS. This fund has supported many thousands of people gain access to treatment and should be welcomed.
There are, however, a new generation of cancer therapies that offer huge benefits for patients but are not routinely funded by the NHS. These therapies often rely on medical devices and offer new ways to treat cancer. They include ablation techniques to freeze of burn tumours, embolisation techniques to starve tumours of the blood supply or internal radiation therapy that allows radiotherapy to be directed straight at a tumour and not across a patient’s whole body.
For patients these treatments are minimally invasive and therefore come with far less impactful side effects. For many they offer a last line of treatment when other therapies have failed.
At present these treatments are not routinely available on the NHS. They do not fit easily with current NHS funding mechanisms and they are not funded through the Cancer Drugs Fund. Healthcomms UK, working with Boston Scientific, has been campaigning to increase patient access to these treatments and to extend payment systems to provide funding for them.
Healthcomms Consulting launched the Innovative Cancer care Fund Manifesto in January 2020. This set out how the Government should assess and fund these treatments and what the impact on patients would be. The Manifesto was launched in Parliament and has gained support from many Parliamentarians.
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