Early diagnosis is essential

Mary Glindon MP for North Tyneside.
Mary Glindon MP for North Tyneside.

Cancer survival rates in Britain still lag behind other countries and too many cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

The sad fact is that two million people will be diagnosed with cancer by the end of the current Parliament.

Cancer has an obviously devastating impact on people and their families, but I am glad that the world’s leading cancer charity, Cancer Research UK’s pioneering research is turning the tables on the disease.

They say that the outlook for new and better cancer treatments is bright, but rightly say politicians should highlight ways to prevent and detect cancer earlier and bring innovative new treatments to patients faster.

They want to see three in four patients surviving cancer by 2034. Survival in the UK has doubled in the last 40 years. But there’s still so much more to do to boost prevention, early diagnosis and ensuring patients have access to the best possible treatments.

North Tyneside roughly reflects the rest of England for the percentage of smokers, childhood obesity and 60 to 69-year-olds screened successfully for bowel cancer, those diagnosed through emergency routes, and the percentage of patients receiving radiotherapy within 31 days of first treatment.

We are also above average for the percentage of patients seen by a specialist within two weeks of an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer.

But North Tyneside falls below the average for early diagnosis of cancers. I will try to find out why. Cancer must be beaten.