Cancer: Early Diagnosis

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons am ar 23 Ionawr 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Ceidwadwyr, Chipping Barnet

What steps she is taking to support the early diagnosis of cancer.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

I know this is an issue close to my right hon. Friend’s heart and pay tribute to her for her work as vice-chairman of the all-party group on radiotherapy. The pandemic has of course presented a real challenge to delivering the Government target to diagnose 75% of stageable cancers at stage 1 or stage 2 by 2028, but I am pleased to be able to tell the House that we are coming through that and last year diagnosed more cancers at stage 1 and stage 2 than ever before.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Ceidwadwyr, Chipping Barnet

Cancer Research UK has published an ambitious plan, “Longer, better lives”, which reminds us that for some cancer patients just a few weeks of delay can make the difference between whether they can be offered curative treatment or just palliative care. Will the new diagnostic centres being opened by the Government, including at Finchley Memorial Hospital, bring waiting times down and secure that early diagnosis that is so important to surviving cancer?

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

My right hon. Friend makes an important point. Diagnostic checks are a key part of the cancer pathway and the 150 community diagnostic centres opened by this Government, including the one at the Finchley Memorial Hospital, will provide earlier diagnostic tests, support earlier diagnosis and bring down waiting times, benefiting millions of patients. These centres have delivered more than 6 million additional tests for all elective activity since July 2021 and we expect the Finchley Memorial Hospital CDC to provide over 126,000 tests for elective care in the next financial year.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

I thank the Minister for that response. Research and development is very important; it means we can find more cures for cancer. My father, who is dead and gone, survived cancer on three occasions; that happened because of advances in finding cures. What is being done to work alongside those in research and development to ensure that even more cancers can be cured and we can go from a 50% rate to perhaps a 60% or even 70% rate for those who live longer?

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

I was delighted that one of my first visits in the new year was to Northern Ireland to see some of the life sciences companies, particularly those based around Queen’s University Belfast. That sector in Northern Ireland is flourishing. We are keen to support companies working in research and bring together world-leading universities such as Queen’s with the private sector and the NHS to deliver improved outcomes for all patients across every part of the United Kingdom.