Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, supports launch of new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer report which finds concerning geographical variation in NHS services.
Sharon has called for an end to the stark inequalities in breast cancer diagnosis and care across England, following the launch of a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer (APPGBC) – and supported by leading charity Breast Cancer Now.
The landmark report – launched in Parliament on Tuesday 27th February – uncovers the true extent of the ‘postcode lottery’ in breast cancer diagnosis and care across England, with women in worst-affected areas found to be more than twice as likely to die from breast cancer under the age of 75 than those elsewhere in the country.
Following a year-long inquiry (October 2016 - November 2017), which gathered evidence from NHS leaders, clinicians, patients and charities, the report found that while overall outcomes for breast cancer are improving, stark geographical inequalities exist across England in screening, early detection and access to treatment and services.
“As the former chair of the APPG on Breast Cancer at the time this report was initiated, I was very pleased to attend the launch of their report into geographical inequalities in breast cancer. These widespread differences in the diagnosis, treatment and care of women with breast cancer, based on where they live, are shocking. It was incredibly moving to hear from speakers at the event just how difficult it can be for breast cancer patients to get the support they need.
“It’s so important to attend routine mammograms so that we can detect breast cancer as early as possible to give women the best chance of survival.
“While such variation across the region exists, we’re falling short of the Government’s ambition of world-class outcomes for all cancer patients, and we call on NHS England and Public Health England to do all that it can in working with the Northern Cancer Alliance to ensure they receive the support they need to meet this challenge.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, which supported the inquiry, said:
“These are really concerning findings. While overall, more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before, this crucial report uncovers variation in breast cancer services on a major scale.
“With patients and healthcare professionals alike already feeling the impact of the workforce shortages across the country, this alarming report must now act as a wake-up call. All women with breast cancer deserve the best possible chance of surviving and living well, no matter where they live, their age or the colour of their skin.
“This report shows too many women miss out on the best breast cancer care this country has to offer. We urge NHS England and Public Health England to take immediate action to ensure all women in the North East and across the country receive fair access to the care, treatment and support they need.”