Today, I hosted a Cancer Research UK event to raise the profile of radiotherapy among my fellow MPs and highlight shortages in current services.
When I was at primary school, I was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. Surgery followed by a course of radiotherapy saved my life. That’s why I am such a passionate supporter of the NHS.
As we live longer, more and more of us are going to get cancer - the latest estimate is that 1 in 3 of us will get it at some point in our lives. And as treatment improves, more and more people will be living with cancer - over 3 million of us by 2020.
But five-year survival rates still lag behind those in most other European countries. In recent years, most of the focus has been on the patchy availability of the latest anti-cancer drugs. But radiotherapy cures more people of cancer than drugs and, just like drugs, availability is patchy (the experts estimate that just over half of cancer patients should receive radiotherapy - the latest figures show that less than 4 in 10 patients in England actually get it). The new Government has promised extra investment in equipment and trained staff - we need to make sure this is delivered.