News

World class cancer care

Published: 16 Sep 2021 09:30

Five-year strategy for children and young people in Scotland.

 

A strategy to deliver world class cancer care for children and young people has been published by the Scottish Government.

Collaborative and Compassionate Cancer Care, the Cancer Strategy for Children and Young People in Scotland 2021-2026, was launched by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf during an online event.

The strategy highlights 10 priorities for the next five years, supported by almost £6 million investment, which include:

  • working towards funding genetic testing to provide personally targeted treatment
  • expanding Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell therapy (CAR-T) to teenagers and young adults
  • setting up a national molecular radiotherapy service for children
  • funding a dedicated health workforce to care for teenagers and young adults 
  • raising the profile of supported care services and holistic care
  • developing a single centre of excellence to provide radiotherapy treatment to improve survival among children with cancer

Mr Yousaf said:

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never easy, but receiving one at such a young age is especially difficult.

“We know that diagnosis has come a long way, with survival rates remaining stable for children and young people. However there is still more we can do to support this age group to live long, healthy and happy lives.

“This strategy, backed by almost £6 million, marks an exciting time for children and young people’s cancer services as the first strategy for this age group. It outlines our 10 ambitions to build on previous successes so that, by 2026, we will see improved and enhanced outcomes for patients and ensure equal access to care across Scotland.”

Medical Director of NHS Forth Valley Andrew Murray said:

“I am delighted to see the launch of Collaborative and Compassionate Cancer Care, after such a challenging period in the NHS Scotland’s history, and I look forward to working with our clinicians and families to deliver its ambitious objectives over the next five years, improving experiences and outcomes.”

Background

The strategy can be read in full here.

It has been written by the Managed Service Network for Children and Young People with Cancer (MSN CYPC) which is chaired by Andrew Murray and consists of specialist healthcare staff, members of the Third Sector, and cancer patients and their families. Who We Are | MSN For Children & Young People with Cancer (scot.nhs.uk).

The MSN CYPC model was set up in 2012 to ensure children, teenagers and young adults up to the age of 25 in Scotland with a cancer diagnosis have access to specialist services as locally as possible, and that care is equal wherever they live in Scotland, to give the best possible outcomes.

CAR-T – chimeric antigen receptor T-cell – therapy is specifically developed for each individual patient and involves reprogramming their immune system cells which are then used to target their cancer. It is a highly complex treatment which has been shown in trials to cure some patients, even those with quite advanced cancers and where other available treatments have failed.

Every year in Scotland, around 180 children up to the age of 16 and 200 teenagers and young adults between the ages of 16-25 are diagnosed with cancer.  Cancer is the leading cause of death in children aged one to nine years. Technology and clinical trials have dramatically advanced cancer care and more children are surviving for longer.