Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, met with campaigners from Cancer Research UK during the Conservative Party Conference on 1st of October to hear about the “Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer” campaign.
Robin has been a longstanding supporter of the fight against cancer, notably through his dedicated support and campaigning on behalf of Worcester’s radiotherapy division set up in 2015 and the breast cancer unit set up in Worcester in 2016, which works in conjunction with the Haven cancer charity. He has also led campaigns to raise funds for local hospices, to improve radiotherapy nationally and to keep head and neck cancer surgery in the County. In addition to this, Robin has voiced his support for the Rory the Robot Appeal, to drastically improve the care of prostate cancer patients.
Research shows that the region is excelling in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer:
- Emergency presentation often means that a patient’s cancer is at a late stage and therefore can be harder to treat, in South Worcestershire the number of patients diagnosed through emergency presentation is 17.3% which is lower than the national average of 19.5%.
- In the region, 98% of patients receive radiotherapy within 31 days of their first treatment for cancer; this figure is higher than the national target of 94%, and the national average of 97%.
However, there is always room for improvement as research shows that South Worcestershire is behind the national target (85%) and the England average (82.3%) when it comes to patients receiving their first definitive cancer treatment within 62 days of their initial GP referral, locally the figure stands at 72.9%.
Speaking after the meeting, Robin said: “After the past 70 years of fantastic work from the NHS, it is vital to ensure it is fit to face the challenges of the decades to come. In Worcester, we are lucky to have hard-working and dedicated NHS staff who ensure that, despite increasing pressures on health services in the county, patients are well looked after. It is my hope that the Government’s drive towards increasing early diagnoses will address these lengthy waiting times.
“Many of us have been affected by cancer in some way, and I am proud of the progress the county has made thus far in providing excellent services for the people of Worcester and Worcestershire. Whether it be the radiotherapy unit introduced in 2015, which ensures that those residents who are battling cancer of the head or neck can be treated in their own county, or the fantastic Breast Cancer Haven which provides first-class emotional and practical support to sufferers of breast cancer, Worcester has advanced its capacity for delivering these vital services. We must not underestimate the devastating impact cancer will have on people in Worcester now and in the future, so it gives me great hope to hear that Cancer Research UK’s pioneering research continues to turn the tables on the disease. I know all too well the pain and suffering that cancer has brought to too many families and I want to see further progress in taking it on.”
The government plan for early diagnosis was announced earlier this month with the primary aim of having 3 out 4 cancers detected at an early stage by 2028 by using the latest breakthrough research and technology.
As part of the new measures the government will:
- use artificial intelligence (AI) to better target at-risk populations and bring screening closer to home
- lower the recommended starting age for bowel cancer screening from 60 to 50 and adopt a new easier to use test (the Faecal Immunochemical Test) which detects cancer at an earlier stage
- speed up access to ground-breaking treatments with quicker translation of new breakthroughs into practice, through investment in world-leading cancer research centres
At present, 52% of the top 10 cancers are diagnosed at stages 1 and 2. The government aims to increase this to 75% by 2028.
Notes to editors:
For details of the Breast Unit Campaign see:
For details of the Worcestershire Radiotherapy Unit see:
For Robin’s support for innovative radiotherapy see:
About Cancer Research UK:
- Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
- Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
- Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
- Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
- Today, two in four people survive cancer. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that three in four people will survive cancer within the next 20 years.
- Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
- Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
- For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.