Please allow me to assure you that every effort is being made to continue raising awareness of breast cancer and to improve the treatment of all those diagnosed with this disease. Breast cancer survival rates have improved remarkably over the last 40 years, but more must be done to build on this success.
The Be Clear on Cancer campaign, first launched in 2014, continues to raise awareness of breast cancer among women over 70, who account for roughly 1 in 3 cases; and great efforts are also being made to improve cancer services and to ensure that the NHS continues to provide some of the world’s best cancer care. The National Cancer Programme is committed to offering uniquely tailored cancer treatment to all breast cancer patients by the end of the year, and NICE has updated its guidance on diagnosing and treating breast cancer.
The NHS Long Term Plan commits to improving detection, with more targeted screening and Rapid Access Diagnostic Centres, so that in 10 years’ time these measures will help achieve 55,000 more people surviving cancer each year. I know, however, that the pandemic has put enormous pressure on the NHS, and recently, in the House of Commons, I raised the issue of three-yearly checks being disrupted, with some women in Cheadle being directed out of the constituency for their checks, and called for better access to mobile screening units. I have since followed this up by meeting with the Health Secretary, and will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that women have access to the local mobile screening units they need.
I am also a strong supporter of our life sciences sector, including the Cheshire science corridor, which employs many Cheadle residents. The work they do is crucial to improving cancer survival rates. I am glad, therefore, that £882 million has been spent on cancer research since 2010 through the National Institute for Health Research, with annual spending on cancer research up by over £35 million since 2010.