Breast Cancer

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding breast cancer and the related ‘Stop Women Dying’ campaign by Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

While welcome progress has been made in recent years on screening, treatment and survival rates for breast cancer, it is clear that with 12,000 women dying every year in the UK from breast cancer, much more needs to be done.

In particular, earlier diagnosis is critical to improving cancer survival, because treatment is more likely to be successful at an earlier stage. It is deeply concerning, therefore, that in the last year 20,000 patients waited longer than two months to start urgent cancer treatment and that the two month cancer treatment target has been missed for a whole year. The Government’s decision to restrict funding for extra investment in cancer drugs has also led to thousands of patients missing out on cutting-edge radiotherapy and surgery.

A Labour Government will make improving cancer care and outcomes a priority and set a goal to match the best in Europe for cancer survival, which would save 10,000 lives a year. Labour will guarantee a maximum one week wait for cancer tests and results by 2020, helping people get treatment more quickly and reducing stress and anxiety. We will also raise public awareness of symptoms, improve training and support for GPs in spotting early signs and create a new Cancer Treatment Fund so patients have access to the latest drugs, surgery and radiotherapy.

I believe these measures will make a real impact on cancer outcomes – including for breast cancer – and help alleviate the strain that cancer services are currently under.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views on this extremely important issue.