Almost every person I know has been touched by cancer either fighting it themselves or watching friends or family struggling against with this devastating disease. So for me it was easy to sign up to be a Breast Cancer Ambassador for the Totnes Constituency.
Labour is committed to fighting cancer it is our goal to match the best in Europe for cancer survival, which could save up to 10,000 lives a year.
Earlier diagnosis is critical to improving cancer survival, because treatment is more likely to be successful at an earlier stage. Late diagnosis is not just worse for health outcomes, but can cost the NHS more too.
By 2020, the next Labour Government will guarantee a maximum one-week wait for cancer tests and results – on route to a goal of a one-week maximum wait for all urgent diagnostic tests by 2025.
Speeding up tests will have several benefits, including helping people get treatment quicker and reducing the anxiety around waiting for a cancer test result. At the moment, people can be waiting six weeks or more for a cancer test, and we want to put a stop to that.
Labour’s cancer test guarantee is part of a wider plan to improve early cancer diagnosis. This includes more public awareness campaigns – including making Teenage Cancer Trust’s programme of awareness sessions on cancer available to every school in England – and ensuring GPs have access to the training and support they need to diagnose cancer. Our plans to improve GP access will also help improve cancer diagnosis: research has found that patients who are able to see their GPs within 48 hours are less likely to have their initial cancer diagnosis via an emergency hospital admission.
On cancer screening, we will roll out the Bowel Scope Screening programme to the whole country and look at whether we should introduce new lung and ovarian cancer screening programmes. We will also publish a new cancer strategy within six months of entering a Labour Government and a plan to tackle ageism in cancer treatment.
Labour will create a new Cancer Treatments Fund to improve access not just to the latest drugs but also to the latest forms of radiotherapy and surgery.
The Tory-led Government’s decision to restrict a fund for extra investment to drugs has led to thousands of patients missing out on cutting-edge radiotherapy and surgery – the two forms of treatment that are responsible for nine in ten cases where cancer is cured.
The Cancer Treatments Fund will give all types of cancer treatment the priority they deserve – potentially benefitting thousands of patients. As part of this, Labour will guarantee that any patient in receipt of a drug from the Cancer Drugs Fund, when it comes to an end in March 2016, would continue to be offered that drug in the Cancer Treatments Fund.
Cancer is a dreadful disease and Labour is committed to us fighting it together.
Almost every person I know has been touched by cancer either fighting it themselves or watching friends or family struggling against with this devastating disease. So for me it was...