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Blood cancer is third biggest cancer killer but awareness remains low

3 min read

Henry Smith MP says that APPG on Blood Cancer inquiry will create an overview of the blood cancer landscape by speaking with frontline staff and examining the devolved health systems.

Many of us have a close family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. More will have a friend or know of someone who has suffered. All will be aware of the difficulties faced at such a time.

The reason I am committed to raising awareness of blood cancer is that it is the cancer which my mother passed away from five years ago.

There are in fact 137 different types of blood cancer. Combined, blood cancer is the third biggest cancer killer in the UK, and the fifth most common cancer overall. However, knowledge of the disease is still low.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer is today launching an inquiry into all aspects of blood cancer. The inquiry’s focus will reflect five of the Independent Cancer Taskforce’s priorities: public awareness and early diagnosis, patient experience, living with and beyond blood cancer, access to medicines and support for research, and NHS commissioning.

The inquiry has a wide remit and purposefully so. The inquiry will be summarising findings and recommendations in a report to be published later this year.

This report will provide an important overview of the blood cancer landscape, and I’m confident it will raise a range of issues which we in the APPG will want to explore in more detail in the months and years ahead.

We will look into areas of care identified as priorities in the Independent Cancer Taskforce’s Cancer Strategy for England 2015-2020, and will seek to identify which services patients require, where their needs are currently being met, and where services need to be extended or amended to account for the specific needs of blood cancer patients.

The APPG on Blood Cancer is a cross-UK group, however health services are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While the inquiry will focus on the implementation of the Cancer Strategy for England, we as a Group are keen to learn from examples of good practice in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As part of this inquiry, the APPG will be holding oral evidence sessions and inviting written evidence from stakeholders including patients and carers. Submissions can be made via an online form, by email or through the post by 27th April.

It is through sharing experiences and encouraging best practice that we can ensure improvements for patients in the years to come. Clinicians, patients, charities and the Department of Health have already engaged with the Group and I look forward to working with each going forward.

Please click here for more information on the Group, or follow us on Twitter: @APPGBloodCancer.

Henry Smith is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Crawley and is the Chair of the APPG on Blood Cancer

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