Friday, 6 February 2015

Cross Out Cancer

I support the The Cross Cancer Out campaign. Cancer is a national issue. It affects families up and down the country. So we need to make sure that more cancers are diagnosed earlier and that everyone in the UK with a diagnosis receives the best treatment.

That need is echoed today as the latest regional figures reveal that almost 2,000 lung cancer patients are missing out on life-saving surgery each year.

Political action saves lives

There is good news – the tables are turning, with half of people now surviving cancer for at least 10 years. And Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of this progress, which has seen survival rates in the UK double in the last 40 years.

The Cross Cancer Out campaign urges all candidates from all political parties to commit to making our NHS cancer services the best in the world. It focuses on a number of key measures aimed at improving cancer survival across the UK:

  • Continued support for campaigns to raise public awareness of the signs and symptomsof cancer
  • A commitment to increase participation in the national bowel cancer screening programme
  • Equal access to innovative radiotherapy, surgery and effective cancer drugs, including drugs targeted to patients’ tumours

Getting tougher on tobacco

Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death and disease, yet one in five people in the UK still smoke. This needs to change. We want to see:

  1. The government act on its recent commitment on standardised packaging for cigarettes.
  2. More measures to support smokers who want to quit, such as stop smoking services.

Spotting cancer early

When it comes to cancer diagnosis earlier is always better. Promoting earlier diagnosis of cancer is vital. We want to see:

  1. Continued support for campaigns that raise public awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer.
  2. A commitment to encourage more people to take part in bowel screening, and to provide information on both risks and benefits.
  3. Measures to improve swift diagnosis, for example, through improved GP access to diagnostic tests.

Ensuring access to surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Recent evidence shows patients in the UK have a harder time getting some treatments than patients in other countries. To improve the situation and increase survival, we need to reverse this trend. We want to see:

  1. Commitments to ensure all patients across the country get the chance to receive the best possible treatment.
  2. All patients who would benefit get up-to-the-minute radiotherapy techniques.
  3. A fast-track scheme allowing patients early access to promising new treatments.

Ensuring the UK remains a competitive research hub

We need a can do attitude that moves with the times and acts quickly on the results of scientific research to benefit patients. We want to see:

  1. A long-term commitment to maintaining the amount government spends on science.
  2. A commitment to reduce the time it takes to get approval to embark on a clinical study.

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