Thank you for contacting me about funding for breast cancer related treatment in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. I have read your email carefully and have noted the key points that you made.
I am delighted that breast cancer survival rates have improved remarkably over the last 40 years, with five-year survival rates for women at over 86 per cent, up from just 53 per cent in the 1970s. This is a testament to the efforts made to raise awareness of the disease and the additional efforts and funding that have gone into tackling this disease. I am glad the Public Health England campaign, Be Clear on Cancer, continues to raise awareness of breast cancer among women over 70, who account for roughly 1 in 3 cases of the disease. First launched in 2014, the campaign drives awareness around key symptoms of breast cancer, encouraging thinking, acting, and treating early.
The Government takes this issue seriously and has made great efforts to improve cancer services and to ensure that the NHS continues to provide some of the world’s best cancer care. The NHS has launched the National Cancer Programme which is committed to offering uniquely tailored cancer treatment to all patients with breast cancer by the end of 2020. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has also updated its guidance on diagnosing and treating breast cancer. This guidance aims to help healthcare professionals offer the right treatments to people diagnosed with breast cancer, taking into account their individual preferences, and should improve the patient experience and the quality of care.
These measures form just part of the NHS’s ambitious wider strategy to improve cancer outcomes. The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) was published in January 2019 and commits to improving detection, with more targeted screening and Rapid Access Diagnostic Centres, so that in 10 years’ time these measures will help achieve 55,000 more people surviving cancer each year. The National Health Service Breast Screening Programme in England offers all women between the ages of 50 and 70 the opportunity to be screened every three years for breast cancer. These screenings play a key part in the early diagnosis of breast cancer, which is central to the Government’s ambition of achieving world-class cancer outcomes.
With regard to after care, I am glad that the NHS is committed to ensuring that people live well with and beyond cancer, which remains a priority area within the Cancer Strategy. As I understand, NHS England are reviewing good practice approaches to reduce and manage the long term consequences of cancer treatments.
Lastly, I am encouraged that, as part of the annual £1 billion funding for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) from the Government each year, £882 million has been spent on cancer research since 2010 through the National Institute for Health Research, with annual spending on cancer research up by over £35 million since 2010. I also recognise the indispensable contribution made by charities in driving forward research into cancer, with Cancer Research UK alone spending £45 million on breast cancer research over the last financial year.
I have spoken with colleagues at HM Treasury about your suggestions for the Comprehensive Spending Review taking place this year. The Integrated Review and Comprehensive Spending Reviews will conclude in the autumn, although I am regrettably not in a position to pre-empt their conclusions. I am, however, assured by my ministerial colleagues that they are aware of the policy suggestions you have raised.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking