Bridget Phillipson MP, Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, has attended a parliamentary event held by Cancer Research UK to mark World Cancer Day and encourage MPs to support their Cross Cancer Out campaign.
After the announcement on World Cancer Day (February 4) that one in two people will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives, Cancer Research UK has launched a campaign to highlight the urgent need to bolster public health and NHS cancer services.
The charity is calling on parliamentarians to back measures to ensure cancer patients receive the best treatment and are diagnosed early enough for that treatment to make a difference.
UK cancer survival rates still lag behind the best in Europe. In England nearly half of all cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.
Cancer Research UK believes that support for public awareness campaigns, increasing screening uptake and ensuring equal access to innovative evidence-based treatments are key to saving more lives.
Speaking at the event, Bridget said:
“Cancer has a devastating impact on people across the UK. The good news is that there have been huge advances in the battle against the disease.
“But with more than 832 deaths from cancer a year in my constituency of Houghton and Sunderland South and one person diagnosed with cancer every hour in the north east*, it’s vital that we detect cancer earlier and that the NHS is provided with the tools to offer patients the best possible chance of surviving.
“The political drive to beat cancer must match the pace of progress in research. A future Labour government will introduce a £2.5 billion Time to Care Fund, which will guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.”
Layla Theiner, Head of Public Affairs at Cancer Research UK, said:
“The increase in the lifetime risk of getting cancer is primarily because more people are surviving into old age, when the disease is more common.
“We can’t avoid growing older, but we can prevent a crisis in the future by acting now to make our NHS cancer services among the best in the world.
“Without increased political support we could see the death toll from cancer rising in the UK and so early diagnosis and better treatments must be key priorities for the next Government.
“That’s why we’re calling on MPs and parliamentary candidates from all political parties to commit to ‘Cross Cancer Out’ and help ensure no-one’s life is cut short by this devastating disease.”
For more information and ways to get involved in the campaign, visit cruk.org/crosscancerout or join the conversation on twitter #CrossCancerOut.
*Approximation based on annual average figure of around 14,700 cases of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) diagnosed between 2009-2011 in the North East Region.