Hospitals in the UK with an accident and emergency (A&E) department should offer acute oncology services to deliver better quality care to cancer patients, according to a new report.

The recommendation forms part of new best practice guidelines published by the National Chemotherapy Advisory Group to improve the quality and safety of chemotherapy.

All hospitals with emergency departments should establish an acute oncology service to quickly identify symptoms and appropriately treat patients who develop severe side effects from chemotherapy or undiagnosed cancer patients, the report said.

Cancer Research UK chief executive Harpal Kumar said that it is vitally important that A&E departments are able to offer a specialist cancer service.

“Many people with undiagnosed cancer either don’t recognise or choose to ignore signs and symptoms of the disease for so long that they eventually end up being admitted to hospital in an emergency,” Kumar said.