NHS England has announced funding to provide treatments to cancer patients even during the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic.
NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said:
“Since the first case of COVID in England six months ago, NHS staff have fast tracked new, innovative ways of working so that other services, including A&E, cancer and maternity could continue safely for patients and it is thanks to these incredible efforts that 65,000 people could start treatment for cancer during the pandemic.
“We are now adopting new, kinder treatment options which are not only effective but safer for use during the COVID-19 pandemic and more convenient for thousands of patients, who can take medication at home or be given medicines with less harmful effects on their immune system.”
NHS England has been working to give treatments that carry lower risks to cancer patients. So far, 2,000 people have benefitted. Examples given by NHS England include: Venetoclax in acute myeloid leukaemia as an oral alternative to more toxic standard chemotherapy, Nivolumab for patients with bowel cancer whose cancers have a specific genetic fingerprint, and Ixazomib in myeloma as an oral alternative to treatment which would require more hospital visits and injections.
The NHS England website provides more information on this and other aspects of its response to COVID-19.