Supporting the Cross Cancer Out Campaign


This week, on World Cancer Day, we heard that half of the UK population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

That is a staggering figure. And it is a reminder of why can never stop campaigning to save the lives of more cancer patients. There are over 1600 cancer cases diagnosed in the Northfield are every year, and sadly over 800 deaths from cancer in our local area too.

I attended a parliamentary event held by Cancer Research UK for their  “Cross Cancer Out campaign” – which is calling for urgent action to improve public health and NHS services so they can cope with a growing and ageing population and the increasing demands for better cancer diagnostics, treatments, and earlier diagnosis.

Although significant progress has been made in improving survival rates in recent years the past decade there is still a long way to go. Deaths from cancer remain in the hundreds of thousands every year in the UK – and we lag behind much of Europe in key areas such as early diagnosis and treatment for the elderly.

And worryingly, all the statistics for cancer diagnosis and treatment seem to be going in the wrong direction. The guarantees of a maximum two month wait from urgent referral for suspected cancer to first treatment for all cancers was missed for three consecutive quarters last year. And more and more people are waiting six weeks or longer from referral for a diagnostic test. Longer waiting times for cancer patients are sadly yet another sign of how vulnerable the NHS is under the Tory-led Government – whose top-down reorganisation has wasted billions and distracted attention from delivering better patient care.

That is why a Labour Government, as part of our plan to protect the NHS in the future, will guarantee that no patient will wait longer than one week for cancer tests and results by 2020. Ed Miliband has set out Labour’s commitment to deliver the best cancer survival rates in Europe – which could save up to 10,000 lives a year. We will invest in the services and staff needed to ensure our NHS can lead the fight against cancer.

You can find out more about the Cross Cancer Out Campaign here.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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