Read my letter to Health Secretary calling for NHS investment in breast cancer
Dear Mr Hancock,
I am writing to you in support of Breast Cancer Now’s new #55000Reasons campaign calling for investment in breast cancer in the NHS Long Term Plan. You can read the full briefing here.
Nearly 11,500 women and 80 men in the UK still lose their lives to breast cancer each year, and outcomes vary tremendously between CCGs across the country. We continue to lag behind other European countries such as Sweden, Portugal, Malta, Germany and France on breast cancer survival.
If trends continue and we don’t address the rising number of people being diagnosed with the disease, Breast Cancer Now’s projections indicate the number of breast cancer deaths will begin to increase within four years.
I am very concerned about this and would like to take this opportunity to urge you to ensure Breast Cancer Now’s ten recommendations are addressed in the NHS Long Term Plan.
The potential for change
The large number of people affected means even seemingly incremental changes have huge potential to save more lives from breast cancer. Breast Cancer Now’s recommendations for the plan include:
- Preventing more breast cancers through specific lifestyle interventions
- Optimising the screening programme through increased uptake, a strengthened workforce, new technologies, and developing a screening programme tailored to an individuals’ risk to potentially detect cancers earlier.
- Reducing variation by reinforcing the position and ambition of Cancer Alliances through providing long term funding
- Funding specific CNS posts to support secondary breast cancer patients in Trusts where there isn’t a dedicated secondary CNS
- Ensuring access to clinically effective drugs at a price affordable to the NHS
The NHS long-term economic plan is a once in a generation opportunity to save thousands of lives – by investing to prevent cancers from occurring, to address geographic variation, to improve screening uptake and systems, and to ensure access to the world-class treatment and care breast cancer patients deserve.
What steps is your department taking to implement the recommendations of the briefing?