Children will have faster access to new treatments as part of plans to defeat childhood cancer, the Secretary of Health will announce today.
Victoria Atkins will launch a task force to increase survival rates of the biggest killer of under-14s.
Leading doctors and charities are joining forces with ministers to “drive progress”, ensuring those suffering from the disease receive the best care.
The task force will address issues specific to childhood cancer, such as more clinical trials involving young people and gentler treatments needed to leave survivors with fewer lifelong side effects.
In a victory for the Mail, which has campaigned to improve childhood cancer outcomes, Ms Atkins promised to “make childhood cancer care faster, easier and fairer for everyone”.
She said: ‘Finding out your child has cancer is some of the worst news a parent can receive. Thanks to remarkable progress in treatment and research, survival rates are higher than ever; However, even then, life-changing consequences can persist.
“This working group will help bring together the world’s leading experts and those who have dedicated their lives to fighting cancer to discuss how we can move faster and drive progress in cancer care for children and young people.”
Health Secretary Victoria Atkins will launch a taskforce to increase survival rates from the leading cause of death in under-14s.
Children will have faster access to new treatments as part of plans to beat childhood cancer (file image)
Every day, at least a dozen families receive the unthinkable news that their child has cancer and faces potentially life-changing treatment to survive.
It remains the leading cause of death from illness among young people 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 leukemia, others such as sarcomas (rare soft tissue cancers) have a very poor prognosis.
The working group will analyze medical advances, such as genomic treatments, diagnostics and research.
It will be led by Dame Caroline Dinenage, a Conservative MP who launched 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 about rising deaths and little progress in fighting the disease.
An analysis by Cancer Research UK found that survival rates are improving at the slowest rate in half a century, while another study predicted deaths will soar by 50 per cent within 25 years.