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The term “blood cancer” covers a number of cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system, including lymphoma (Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin), leukaemia and myeloma.  Approximately 31,000 cases of blood cancer were diagnosed in the UK in 2015. This makes blood cancer the fifth most common cancer type. 

Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stem cell and bone marrow transplants are commissioned nationally by NHS England, due to the specialised nature of the treatments and high costs. Local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) commission all other services for adult blood cancer patients. All treatment and care for children and young people with blood cancer is commissioned nationally by NHS England.

In February 2017 it was announced by NHS England that new funding meant that second stem cell transplants were able to be routinely commissioned on the NHS as of April 2017.  There is a debate currently about the transference of responsibility for commissioning post-transplant care, from NHS England and CCGs, after 100 days, leading, it is claimed, to gaps in the care provided.  NHS England hopes that all cancer patients will have access to a four-stage Recovery Package by 2020.

On Wednesady 17th January, the APPG on Blood Cancer published a report entitled “The ‘Hidden’ Cancer – The need to improve blood cancer care“.  This report argues that the Government’s 2015 Cancer Strategy is not doing enough to support blood cancer and recommendeds that GPs should request a blood test immediately for anyone presenting with one or more symptoms of blood cancer.

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