Cancer remains a high priority for the Government. Survival rates are continuing to rise year-on-year, with around 7,000 people alive today who would not have been had mortality rates not increased over the last decade, but more must be done to build on that progress.
The NHS Long Term Plan outlines new measures for catching and treating cancer early, so that, by 2028, 55,000 more people each year will survive cancer for at least five years after diagnosis. This includes safer and more precise treatment, including advanced radiotherapy techniques and immunotherapies to continue to support improvements in survival rates. This will be supported by a £130 million upgrade of radiotherapy machines across England, as well as the new state-of-the-art proton beam facilities, the first of which opened at the Christie in Manchester in 2018.
Moreover, the Long Term Plan commits to reforming the specialised commissioning payments for radiotherapy hypofractionation to support equipment upgrades. Faster, smarter and more effective radiotherapy will mean more patients are offered curative treatment, with fewer side effects and shorter treatment times. Starting with ovarian cancer, the NHS will also ensure greater access to specialist expertise and knowledge in the treatment of cancers where there are fewer or more risky treatment options.
I know that the coronavirus pandemic has put immense pressure on the NHS, and recently in the House of Commons, I raised the issue of disruption to breast cancer screening, and I have since followed this up with a meeting with the Health Secretary. I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that women in Cheadle and across the country have access to the local mobile screening units they need, so breast cancer can be detected and treated early.