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Ms Blears: The Government have recommended continually since 1953 that BCG vaccine should be routinely offered to all school children aged between 10 and 14 years of age. This is based on the advice of an independent expert advisory committee, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
This recommendation was reviewed by the JCVI during 1996 and their advice was that the schools programme should continue; health authorities were advised of this in July 1996. The decision not to implement this advice in Oxfordshire, Avon and York and Selby was taken locally by the health authorities.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is due to publish guidelines on supportive and palliative care in October 2002. This will include guidance on information, communication, psychological and social support.
Ms Blears [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) have been asked to advise on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of capecitabine (Xeloda) for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Guidance is due to be disseminated in March 2003, provided there are no appeals.
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In August 1999 the Department issued guidance which asks national health service bodies to continue with local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies where guidance from NICE is not available at the time the technology first became available. These arrangements should involve an assessment of all the available evidence.
Ms Blears [holding answer 24 May 2002]: Information about sun safety will be available from the normal routes as well as through NHS Direct. We launched on 14 March a new departmental website www.doh.gov.uk/sunsafe providing sun safety advice. The website has been designed with both young children and their parents and teachers in mind. We are also collaborating with other key stakeholders this year in ensuring that a range of sun safety advice is publicly available. For example, the recently launched Cancer Research (UK) leaflet "Malignant Melanoma" describes the facts and signs of melanoma, for which the Department provided funding.
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what sum was made available for cancer treatment in the financial year 200203 at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust; what sum for cancer treatment at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells was sought for 200203; and what changes have been made to the allocation of resources for 200203 for cancer treatment at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. 
Ms Blears: In 200203 £17.7 million was made available to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells National Health Service Trust for cancer treatment. The increase in the allocation of resources for 200203 for cancer treatment at the trust was £2.04 million.
Ms Blears: Reports of links between chemicals in vegetables and cancer of the oesophagus relate to speculation concerning possible effects of nitrate. I am informed that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is aware of the scientific developments in this area and is investigating the matter.
Vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables, contain the highest concentrations of nitrate in the diet. Although some of this nitrate comes from the use of conventional and organic nitrogen fertilisers on crops most is naturally
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occurring. Low light intensity during the growing period is the main influence on nitrate concentrations in plant tissue.
Many studies have investigated the possibility of a link between nitrate and cancer, but these have failed to provide convincing evidence that nitrate intake in the UK causes cancer. A new study by Professor McColl at the University of Glasgow has speculated on a possible association with oesophageal cancer in Scotland. The FSA agree with Professor McColl that the results are preliminary and require further investigation. Other areas of the United Kingdom with high nitrate intakes do not show similar high levels of the oesophageal cancer reported in Scotland. There is also new evidence available which suggests that dietary nitrate has beneficial effects. The FSA has commissioned a three-year project to characterise the potential benefits versus possible toxicity to humans from nitrate in the diet. The results of this work will be available later this year.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of people in England diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer were entered into clinical trials in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Ms Blears: The Department does not collect this information centrally. However, the national cancer research network has just started to collate detailed figures on the numbers of people entering clinical trials for cancer.
Ms Blears: We have no evidence that sex selective abortions are being performed. An abortion may only take place on grounds under the Abortion Act 1967, as amended. While abortion on grounds of foetal sex alone is not specifically prohibited, it is illegal. The sex of an unborn child might, however, be a legitimate factor if in a practitioner's judgment, an abortion in a particular case is justified on the medical grounds specified in the Abortion Act, for example in sex-linked inherited conditions.
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Ms Blears: Information on the prevalence of individual conditions is not collected centrally. The report of the independent chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalitis working group, published in January 2002, estimated a population prevalence of around 0.2 to 0.4 per cent. in adults and around 0.07 per cent. in children.
Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on progress with support and treatment for people suffering with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 
Jacqui Smith: In recent years the Department has encouraged a number of initiatives taken by professional bodies and voluntary groups to raise awareness of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to facilitate accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. We currently support, including provision of grant aid, the work of the "contact a family ADHD alliance" project.
In guidance on the use of the drug methylphenidate in the treatment of ADHD in children, published in October 2000 by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), it was made clear that a diagnosis of ADHD should be based on a timely, comprehensive assessment conducted by a child/adolescent psychiatrist or a paediatrician with expertise in this disorder. Referrals for specialist assessment can come from a number of sources including family members, general practitioners, social workers and teachers. NICE also recommended that drug treatment with methylphenidate, where appropriate, should be seen as part of a comprehensive treatment programme, which includes psychological, educational and social interventions, for children with a diagnosis of severe ADHD.
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