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Colleges call on NHS to fund cancer treatment

15th January 2008

The NHS has been called upon to fully fund fertility services required by those with cancer it emerged today.

A report from the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Radiologists and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommended that a policy on the storage of sperm, embryos and eggs should be implements and funding protocols developed for patients.

It also outlined previous NICE guidelines from 2004, which called for universal access to fertility services. However, a survey found these were not always available or provided universally.

In addition, the report also recommended the increase in information given to patients regarding treatment risks at the time of diagnosis, as this could incur counselling and psychological support.

Working party chair Dr Ben Mead said although many cancer cures are now accessible, younger people suffer in the way of fertility and techniques should be employed to restore this after treatment has ended.

Dr Michael Williams, vice-president of the Royal College of Radiologists, added: “It is shocking that arguments over funding still limit patients’ access to fertility-preserving treatments.

“Sperm freezing is well established, simple and effective. It should be available to all as recommended by three reports from NICE and there should be a national strategy to fund other options for patients.”

Some of the priorities outlined in the 2004 NICE report included the assessment of female tubal damage and Chlamydia screening for women.

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