Today I joined campaigners from Cancer Research UK to hand in the Voice for Radiotherapy petition, signed by over 35,000 people, to 10 Downing Street.
The petition calls on the Government to ensure that everyone who needs it gets access to the latest radiotherapy treatment. I had lymphatic cancer when I was a child and NHS radiotherapy treatment saved my life so this is an issue I am passionate about.
Every day, two people in Croydon are diagnosed with cancer. When you or your loved ones are affected, you want to know that all the appropriate treatments are available.
Cancer Research UK’s Voice for Radiotherapy campaign is part of the Year of Radiotherapy, which celebrates a century of the treatment and aims to improve public awareness of its value (radiotherapy helps to cure more people than cancer drugs but public awareness of it is much lower).
In recent years researchers, including Cancer Research UK scientists, have found new ways to make radiotherapy more accurate and effective. Modern techniques are targeted and precise, increasing the chances of successful treatment and reducing side effects. However, shortages in staff and equipment mean some patients are missing out on these new forms of this potentially life-saving treatment.
Earlier this year, the Government published Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer, which recognised the need for change but we need to keep up the pressure to make sure everyone gets the best possible treatment.