Post-treatment support for cancer patients

I met recently with Breast Cancer Care in the House of Commons to back their new Care After Breast Cancer campaign, which calls for every woman to have access to a breast cancer-specific support event to help them start to navigate life after treatment.

I am grateful to the Crawley residents who have contacted me in recent weeks and months calling for improved support for breast cancer patients. It is with these representations in mind that I spoke with the charity’s staff, and listened to a former patient who is advocating for improved support after treatment.

The Government’s newly established Cancer Alliances bring local senior clinical and managerial leaders together. They represent different stages of the cancer patient pathway across a specific geographic area. In Crawley, we are part of the Surrey & Sussex Cancer Alliance, where there were almost 3,000 cases of (invasive) breast cancer in 2015.

The campaign calls for all breast cancer patients to have access to a health and wellbeing event after hospital treatment ends. Such a session should be breast cancer-specific so it is tailored to meet the needs of patients, as well as having maximum ability to help women live well after breast cancer.

There have, of course, been great strides in treatments in the 70 years since the NHS was founded, meaning that more and more women are surviving breast cancer. However, beating cancer is about more than just surviving; it is about being able to live well and continue with normal daily life.

As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer I meet with the respective Chairs of other cancer Groups, including the APPG on Cancer and the APPG on Breast Cancer.

Having previously hosted the annual World Cancer Day event in the House of Commons I will continue to pursue the issue of support for cancer patients and their families with the Government.

Henry Smith MP