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Revamped cancer treatment promised

The Scottish government has unveiled moves to improve treatment for cancer victims.

It seeks to enhance prevention and detection, give faster treatment, and provide greater support for those surviving the disease.

A £13 million pledge to bring in “two view” breast cancer screening across Scotland by April 2010 was among the individual measures announced by Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

At present, two X-ray views from different angles are taken at the first appointment and one at later screenings. Changing to two views at all appointments could pick up an extra 275 cases a year, doctors estimate.

For all cancers, the target of 62 days from urgent referral to treatment is to be widened to take in patients who screen positive in national screening programmes.

By 2011, all patients diagnosed with cancer, however they come to be referred, will receive treatment within 31 days from the decision to treat.

Some £500,000 is to be spent on helping Macmillan Cancer Support extend its benefits advice services and piloting a programme to support people with cancer returning to work.

Other measures include extra spending on cancer genetic services, as well as using patient feedback to improve cancer services, and a greater emphasis on “survivorship”.

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