Taskforce to revolutionalise cancer care for children giving thousands of sick kids faster access to new treatments, Health Secretary to announce

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Children will be given faster access to new treatments under plans to beat childhood cancer, the Health Secretary will announce today.

Victoria Atkins will launch a taskforce to boost survival rates for the biggest killer of under-14s. 

Leading clinicians and charities are joining forces with ministers to ‘drive progress’, ensuring those with the disease are given the best care.

The taskforce will tackle issues specific to childhood cancer, such as more clinical trials involving youngsters and kinder treatments needed to leave survivors with fewer lifelong side effects. 

In a victory for the Mail which has campaigned to improve children’s cancer outcomes, Mrs Atkins vowed to ‘make child cancer care faster, simpler and fairer for all’.

She said: ‘Discovering your child has cancer is among the worst news a parent can receive. Thanks to the remarkable progress in treatment and research survival rates are higher than ever however even then life-changing consequences can remain.

‘This taskforce will help bring together world-leading experts and those who have dedicated their lives to fighting cancer to discuss how we can go further faster and to drive progress in cancer care for children and young people.’

Health Secretary, Victoria Atkins will launch a taskforce to boost survival rates for the biggest killer of under-14s

Children will be given faster access to new treatments under plans to beat childhood cancer (stock image)

Children will be given faster access to new treatments under plans to beat childhood cancer (stock image)

Every day at least a dozen families are given the unthinkable news their child has cancer and faces potentially life-changing treatment to survive. 

It remains the leading cause of death by disease in youngsters in the UK, killing one in five of those diagnosed – around 500 a year.

While enormous progress has been made in some childhood cancers such as leukaemia, others like sarcomas – rare cancers of the soft tissue – have a very poor prognosis. 

The taskforce will look at medical breakthroughs, such as genomic treatments, diagnosis and research.

It will be led by Dame Caroline Dinenage, a Tory MP who started a campaign after being approached by her constituent, Charlotte Fairall, who lost her ten-year-old daughter Sophie to sarcoma in 2021.

It comes after cancer care suffered a double blow with warnings on rising fatalities and poor progress in fighting the disease. 

Analysis by Cancer Research UK found survival rates are improving at the slowest pace in half a century while another study predicted deaths will soar by 50 per cent in 25 years.

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