Solving Kids’ Cancer comment on NHS England’s Long Term Plan

We are pleased to see many of our own aims included in the new NHS England Long Term Plan, areas we are working so hard on to improve outcomes for children and families affected by neuroblastoma.

In particular, supporting increased access to clinical trials and treatments like proton beam therapy – both of which will see fewer children needing to travel abroad.

We are also delighted to see a positive move to comprehensive sequencing of every child’s tumour which will aid the quest for more effective and less harmful therapies. Curing children of neuroblastoma very often comes at a cost of other severe and lifelong health problems caused by the vast amounts of toxic chemotherapy they receive.

Solving Kids’ Cancer welcomes the plan and would like the opportunity to work with NHS England to achieve our shared goals.

“It’s promising to see the NHS target many improvements that will benefit children diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an extremely rare and aggressive childhood cancer that is the most common to occur in infants,” says Steve Richards, Solving Kids’ Cancer CEO.

Speaking on NHS England’s ambition to increase cancers diagnosed at stage 1 and 2 to 75%, he continues: “Unfortunately high-risk neuroblastoma is particularly difficult to treat successfully and there is currently no clear evidence as to what impact early diagnosis would have in terms of improving overall survival.”

“Despite this, we welcome any plan that will hopefully lead to earlier detection and diagnosis. Today, there are children who are diagnosed only after permanent organ or spinal damage has already been inflicted and others for whom the neuroblastoma is so advanced by the time they are diagnosed that their only available options are palliative.”

“It’s also common for parents to spend months ‘in the system’ – back and forth between multiple GP visits and outpatient appointments with a paediatrician, before their child finally receives a correct – and devastating – diagnosis of neuroblastoma. Solving Kids’ Cancer is committed to working with healthcare professionals and other charities so that children with neuroblastoma can be diagnosed as quickly and efficiently as possible, to enable the best currently available treatments to begin without delay.”