Friday 13th was Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day and October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This disease is the most common form of cancer in the UK with someone diagnosed every 10 minutes. In the West Midlands Over 5500 people were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 alone.
Many people suffer from breast cancer or have a loved one who has – it’s a disease that affects far too many of us.
The people I meet who have been touched by breast cancer are united in overcoming the disease and supporting others. The good news is that survival rates are improving – encouragingly survival has doubled over the last 40 years in the UK.
This is an issue I am particularly passionate about, before entering politics I ran the London Marathon in aid of Breast Cancer Care. Since being elected in 2015 I have been Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer which campaigns to highlight the needs of people living with breast cancer and lobbies the Government and NHS England over treatments.
Last week I hosted an event for Breast Cancer Care in Parliament with guests from NHS England Cancer Prevention Team, Public Health England, Hospital Trusts across country, Various Cancer charities, patients and other MPs. This event was to highlight Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day and in particular that there are still delays in diagnosis, failures to signpost patients to free services of support and too often no access to specialist nurses.
An important report was launched at this event called ‘Secondary. Not second rate’ which sets out a vision that every person living with secondary breast cancer can receive the care and support they need, when they need it. You can pledge your support to this report by visiting www.breastcancercare.org.uk/secondary.