Labour to make pledge on reducing cancer deaths

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Indy Politics

A promise to cut cancer death rates will today be put at the centre of Labour's election campaign by the Health Secretary, Andy Burnham.

He is to signal that a re-elected Labour government will accelerate a promise to give suspected cancer patients the right to be diagnosed within a week of seeing a doctor.

Mr Burnham will argue in a speech that early detection of cancer is the key to reducing deaths, pledging to usher in a "more preventative NHS".

Gordon Brown offered a guarantee at last year's Labour conference that cancer sufferers would, by 2015, only have to wait one week for their test results after seeing their doctor.

Mr Burnham told The Independent that he wanted the target to be achieved "as early as we possibly can".

The Health Secretary will point to research suggesting that mortality rates from cancer in England have declined since 2008. He also said he rejected proposals by the Conservatives to supply drugs currently denied by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.