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Breast Cancer: Stop Women Dying campaign

May 3, 2015 10:35 AM

Thank you for contacting me about the Stop Women Dying campaign. This is a disease that has affected members of my family and so I would be delighted to support the campaign and become a Breast Cancer Ambassador, if elected.

Cancer is a horrible disease, and although we have made great progress on one-, five- and ten-year survival rates in the last thirty years, more still needs to be done if we are to beat breast cancer for good.

Liberal Democrats in Government have prioritised cancer care by improving access to innovative treatments through the Cancer Drugs Fund, which has helped 60,000 people. More people receive treatment for cancer and are referred by their GP now than five years ago. The 2014 annual Cancer Patient Experience Survey results also show substantial improvements on 46 indicators measured since 2010.

In 2011, we published a Cancer Outcomes Strategy, setting out an ambition to save additional 5,000 lives per year by 2014/15, supported by more than £750m in funding. £450m of this was targeted at improving early diagnosis - a crucial part of improving cancer survival rates - by driving up public awareness of the symptoms of cancer and improving access to key diagnostic tests.

We also launched the sign and symptoms awareness campaign Be Clear on Cancer, which has been crucial in raising awareness in many age groups. This includes women over 70, who account for one in three breast cancer diagnoses, and who the campaign targeted in 2014.

In January 2015, NHS England launched an independent task force to develop a five year action plan to improve cancer survival rates. The review will be chaired by the Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK and will look at prevention, first contact with services, diagnosis, treatment, support for people living with and beyond cancer, and end-of-life care.

Liberal Democrats want to improve access to other GP appointments, build on the success of awareness campaigns like Be Clear on Cancer and set clear targets for early diagnosis rates. We want to improve cancer treatments too and build on the £775m of investment Liberal Democrats in Government provided for NHS medical research over five years, of which cancer was a main beneficiary. We want to continue to prioritise investment in the most serious life threatening diseases, such as cancer, in the next Parliament.

But we can only achieve this if the NHS is properly funded in the coming years. That's why the Liberal Democrats have set out clear, costed plans to provide an extra £8bn a year to the NHS by 2020. This is in line with recommendations made by the NHS Chief Executive last year. While the other parties claim they want to support our health service too, all they have offered is warm words with absolutely no indication of how they will pay for it.

In my view, providing sufficient funding for the NHS is essential if it is going to continue to provide high quality care to people with all conditions. I believe that the next Government will deliver that only if the Liberal Democrats are part of it.

I hope this answer your question.