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Cancer: Health Services

Volume 492: debated on Tuesday 12 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans (a) his Department and (b) the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has to provide (i) cancer and (ii) cancer-related lymphoedema patients equal access to specialist NHS treatment in each region. (273671)

It is the responsibility of primary care trusts to make decisions on the commissioning of lymphoedema services based on guidance already issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on treatment for lymphoedema. In 2002, NICE updated its “Improving outcomes in breast cancer” guidance, which makes recommendations on the identification and management of lymphoedema and on the provision of lymphoedema services. In 2004, NICE made further recommendations for commissioners of health services on the provision of the range and volume of rehabilitation services, including lymphoedema therapists, in its “Improving Supportive and Palliative care for Adults with Cancer” guidance. Recommendations on lymphoedema management were also made in NICE'S clinical guidelines on breast cancer published in February 2009. This guidance can be found on NICE’s website at:

Through the Department’s National Cancer Survivorship Initiative, formally launched in September 2008, we are looking at the late effects and long-term consequences of cancer and its treatment, including effects such as lymphoedema.