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NHS considers new cancer treatment


Whether or not a life-saving but expensive new cancer treatment will be made available on the NHS will be known in the “very near future”, according to junior health minister Ann Keen.

The Department of Health has been assessing proton therapy, streams of sub-atomic particles fired into the body to kill cancerous cells. Because it is more tightly focussed than radiotherapy, surrounding healthy tissue is less affected.

It is not available in the UK to treat most cancers, and patients have to travel abroad at great cost to benefit from it.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron had asked ministers during Question Time in the Commons to look at funding the treatment on the NHS.

Ms Keen said: “The Department of Health has had meetings with myself and other interested parties and proton therapy is being looked at.

“We are hoping in the very near future to be able to make a decision as to how we take this forward. That’s what we are doing.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

Proton therapy

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