In September, Blood Cancer Awareness Month, I am continuing my work on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer, which I am honoured to chair.
The Group, made up of cross-party MPs, looks to promote awareness of blood cancer, and highlight the needs of patients with the Government, Parliamentarians, as well as NHS and charity stakeholders.
Following a parliamentary debate in July, we are looking to raise further awareness among MPs, including at an event taking place today (Wednesday, 14th September), hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
There are almost a quarter of a million people in the UK living with blood cancer. There are in fact 137 different types, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Research from Bloodwise has shown that public awareness of blood cancer is low, and that patients often feel isolated and believe these cancers are seen as ‘separate’ from other cancers.
Symptoms of blood cancer can be vague. A number of them, such as tiredness, are also common with conditions such as colds. Lumps are a symptom of lymphoma, as with other illnesses.
Bloodwise have a range of information on symptoms on their website: www.bloodwise.org.uk. If you suspect any symptoms, do contact your GP.
Blood cancer is the third biggest cause of cancer death in the UK. While the UK is a world leader in terms of research, there is more we can do.
The Cancer Drugs Fund will now provide up to two years of interim funding for a drug, if the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) believe that further clinical data is needed before a final decision can be made on its future.
The APPG, whose officers also include Jess Phillips, Jim Shannon and Jason McCartney, will continue to work alongside parliamentary colleagues and external organisations such as Bloodwise, in the interests of patients.