Thank you for contacting me about treatment, diagnosis, and care for people with brain tumours.
Brain cancer has blighted so many lives: every year around 11,400 people in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour and just 14 per cent of people survive their disease for 10 years or more. Dame Tessa Jowell’s valiant campaigning in her final months, to shine the light on actions needed to improve research and care for people with brain cancer, was inspiring and selfless. I welcome the Government’s determination to take forward her work.
In October 2018 the Prime Minister announced measures that will be rolled out across the country with the aim of seeing three quarters of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028 (currently just over half are detected at an early stage). The plan is overhauling screening programmes, providing new investment in state of the art technology to transform the process of diagnosis, and boosting research and innovation. This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), published in January 2019, and forms part of how the Government will achieve its ambition to see 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years in England each year from 2028.
The LTP also commits to speeding up the path from innovation to business-as-usual, spreading proven new techniques and technologies and reducing variation. As part of the NHS' contribution to the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, 5-ALA – which enables more accurate surgery on brain tumours – will be available in every neurosurgical centre in England. New investment will ensure the next generation of treatments are implemented rapidly across the NHS.
Of course, more can still be done: I am encouraged that the Government is putting cancer diagnosis at the heart of the long-term plan for the NHS, being made possible by the £33.9bn the Government is investing in the NHS, a funding commitment which is now enshrined in law.
I am grateful to constituents who invited me to attend the most recent meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours. Whilst I was unable to attend on this occasion, I take a close interest in barriers to cancer treatment through my work as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Access to Medicines and Medical Devices.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.