This week I was pleased to launch the ‘Hear Our Voice’ report which calls for enhanced improvement and care for people with blood cancer.
It outlines the experiences of 10 of Bloodwise’s Patient Ambassadors; eight of whom are living with blood cancer and two sadly lost their children.
Blood cancer is the UK’s fifth most common cancer, yet remains our country’s third biggest cause of cancer death. One in 19 people will be affected by a blood cancer in their lifetime, and by ensuring earlier diagnosis and increased awareness of symptoms, we can seek to save more and more lives.
Over a third of people with a blood cancer need to visit their GP three or more times with symptoms before being referred to hospital; more than for any other type of cancer. A wider understanding of the symptoms, which include fatigue, night sweats and unexplained weight loss, will see better outcomes and support for patients.
The engagement of NHS England and the Department of Health & Social Care is vital, and I was pleased to welcome the Public Health & Primary Care Minister, Steve Brine, to say a few words.
This week the National Health Service’s Long-Term Plan was launched. The Plan sets out how the £20.5 billion budget settlement for the NHS will be spent over the next five years; improving outcomes for major diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and dementia.
In November of last year I secured and led a House of Commons debate where I called on the Government to ensure the clinical and psychological needs of blood cancer patients are reflected in policy.
The conversations I have had with blood cancer patients in Crawley, as well as local residents who do not have the condition but want to see treatments improved, remain in my mind as we lobby for lasting change.
Henry Smith MP