As many of you know I am Chair for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Cancer as well as working closely with all other APPG’s on other cancer types across Parliament. This means I am heavily involved in meetings to devise strategies to overcome treatment wait times and inequalities in patient care. Additionally, I consistently fight for better healthcare and more equitable access to treatment for cancer patients.
I wanted to create this page to give you recent updates on the work I have been doing through the APPG on cancer. In the past few weeks, I have been involved in meetings targeted to solve the disparities in cancer care and to see what necessary changes need to be made to ensure each type of cancer has the appropriate systems and care units in place.
I have recently been involved in discussions with breast cancer surgeons and other stakeholders to discuss about what needs to be improved in the system to improve capacity in breast cancer treatments. Updating the IT system is one of the areas that was flagged for improvement. This would allow for a much more cohesive progress for tracking a patient’s diagnosis, treatment, and care. It was also raised that it would be extremely beneficial to bring in clinical support workers so that the clinicians and surgeons can focus all their effort on healing patients and the administrative responsibilities could be dealt with by other people. These are two issues I will help fight to make happen and raise with Ministers in the Department of Health and Social Care.
Whilst there have been some positive changes in fighting lung cancer such as early detection and making risk factors more widely known, barriers persist to improving early diagnosis and timely treatment. There are massive amounts of work being done to make lung cancer symptoms more widely known. Tackling lung cancer and improving patient outcomes requires the NHS and policymakers to address three core areas which have the greatest impact.
- We must ensure all people with lung cancer have access to an early diagnosis.
- We must support the lung cancer workforce to deliver the best care possible for patients.
- We must tailor improvements locally in a way that reduces, rather than exacerbates health inequalities.
Liver cancer sadly is the fastest rising cancer death in the UK. It is overwhelmingly diagnosed at a late stage and is a silent killer. 9/10 cases of liver cancer have proven that the biggest risk factor is preventable. I am in full support with Liver Trusts vital work that they are doing to help raise awareness of liver disease and the links that has with liver cancer. Additionally, their work to drive earlier diagnosis, treatments, and care across the UK.
The NHS Long Term Plan includes an ambitious commitment to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028. Outcomes for cancer patients have seen amazing breakthroughs in the last 40 years. However, there is so much more that needs to be done to ensure that all patients receive the appropriate and necessary care and treatment.
Whilst I have only outlined three main cancers above, I plan to keep this page thoroughly updated, keeping you informed on the proactive steps I am taking to help improve cancer care.