A cancer campaigner from Edgware met with Matthew at a major event in Parliament staged to highlight the importance of detecting the disease early.
Barbara Freedman was one of 74 Cancer Research UK Ambassadors who came face to face with their MP on Wednesday November 3 under the banner of the Commit to Beat Cancer campaign.
And she was keen to impress the need to spot cancer early as it is estimated that 10,000 deaths could be avoided each year in the UK if patients were diagnosed earlier.
Barbara, aged 70, said: “I’m really excited to have taken part in Cancer Research UK’s lobby, because I know that this is one way that I can make a real difference. Too many people in Hendon have been affected by cancer in some way, and I’m one of them, so I feel proud that today I was able to give them a voice.
“I travelled to Westminster today to talk about the fact that around 10,000 deaths could be avoided each year in the UK if we diagnosed cancer earlier. This is because when cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is almost always simpler and more likely to be effective. And that’s why I’m here today, to make sure that more lives can be saved in the future.”
The UK’s cancer survival rates are worse than Europe’s best performing countries and this is partly because we diagnose cancer later.
Barbara Freedman urged Matthew to write to the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley MP, asking him to tackle two important issues in the Government’s new cancer plan.
Firstly, she called on the Government to commit to beating cancer by giving GPs greater access to the tests they need to diagnose cancer. Secondly, she called for the Government to record accurately the stage at which the majority of patients’ cancers are diagnosed. This will help monitor trends and drive progress on early diagnosis more quickly in poor performing areas.
Matthew said: “One in three people can expect a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, and I want to make sure we’re all doing what we can to reduce that number. Earlier diagnosis is a crucial ways to help more people survive cancer. It was a pleasure to meet my constituent, Barbara, and listen to their story, and I will do what I can to support the aims of this lobby.”
And Matthew didn’t stop there, rounding off the day at an evening reception with Professor Sir Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, to learn more about how the Cancer Reform Strategy is being updated.
The Commit to Beat Cancer campaign identifies five main ways that cancer survival rates can be improved – preventing more cancers, tackling inequalities, protecting the science research base, providing access to world class treatment and finally, the focus for the lobby, detecting cancer earlier.