APPGBC hosts ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ Reception and launches parliamentary inquiry into geographic inequalities in breast cancer services
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing, Southall, demonstrated his support for women and men living with breast cancer this October by attending the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer’s (APPGBC) Reception at the House of Commons last Wednesday 26th October.
More people are developing breast cancer than ever before – with 50,000 women and around 350 men diagnosed every year in the UK – and around 11,500 patients lose their lives to the disease each year.
Attended by more than 100 representatives from the breast cancer community, including 45 MPs, the APPGBC reception was held in support of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to keep the issues that matter most to breast cancer patients high on the parliamentary agenda.
With MPs, Peers, civil servants, health professionals, patients and charity representatives in attendance, the APPGBC announced the launch of a new parliamentary inquiry into geographical inequalities in breast cancer services across England.
Currently, while breast cancer patients should receive the same high level of treatment across England, unfortunately this is often not the case. Many patients receive varying levels of care depending on where in the country they live, with inequalities throughout the patient pathway, from early diagnosis through to treatment and survival.
Led by co-chairs Sharon Hodgson MP, Craig Tracey MP and Dr Philippa Whitford MP, as well as vice chairs Jo Churchill MP and Baroness Massey of Darwen, the inquiry will seek to establish the extent of these geographic variations, explore their impact on patients and ultimately make recommendations to reduce inequalities.
Although the inquiry will focus on breast cancer services and care in England, the APPGBC is keen to learn from examples of good practice in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and is encouraging people from the devolved nations to respond to the call for written evidence.
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing, Southall, said:
Too many people don’t receive the high quality of care they should because of where they live. This inquiry is an important step towards stamping out regional inequalities.
I welcome any steps that will ensure that people all receive the same high quality of care, particularly for the rapidly increasing number of people affected by breast cancer.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
It was heartening to see so many MPs, peers, civil servants, healthcare professionals and patients come together to support those affected by breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month may have drawn to a close, but our work to save lives and to improve patients’ experiences across the country must now continue.
We are so grateful to Virendra Sharma for his continued support both for breast cancer research and for women and men living with this dreadful disease.”