Wales Published Cancer Standards For Sarcoma Services
New standards to improve access to diagnosis and treatment of sarcomas have been published by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Sarcomas are a rare and diverse group of cancers that can be broadly divided into those of bone and those of soft tissue. When combined sarcomas are the 21st most common cancer type. As a result, a GP may only expect to see one or two patients with this type of cancer through out their working lifetime.
The new standards, which have been developed by the Cancer Services Co-ordinating Group with a multi-professional group of cancer specialists and patients, take into account the latest NICE guidance which emphasises the importance of earlier diagnosis in order to improve survival.
The standards aim to improve the co-ordination of care with clearly designated diagnostic clinics which will speed up diagnosis. For those patients found to have sarcoma, a rapid onward referral, as part of a clinical pathway, to an appropriate specialist team will ensure prompt treatment by experts in this rare disease.
The NHS in Wales must submit plans to the Assembly Government by the end of September on how it will achieve the new standards by June 2012.
Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "Swift access to diagnosis and treatment is essential for improving the outcome for patients. More people are now surviving cancer and surviving for longer than ever before but we must build on this achievement. Through investment in prevention, speedy diagnosis and treatment, we will reduce the devastating impact that cancer can have on individuals and families and friends.
"The new standards will support clinicians in caring for people who are suspected to have these rare cancers."
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Jane Wilkinson, added: "In addition to speeding up diagnosis and treatment, we are increasing awareness of measures to reduce the risk of developing cancer, such as having a healthy lifestyle and diet, and for people to be sensible in the sunshine which can reduce the risk of skin cancer.
"The introduction of the ban on smoking in enclosed public places, the human papilloma virus vaccine to reduce the risk of cervical cancer and the roll-out of bowel cancer screening will improve and aid our efforts to reduce the incidence of cancer."