West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper attended the inaugural report launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer on Wednesday 17 January, and supported calls to improve blood cancer care for patients in West Lancashire.
The report makes a number of recommendations including that GPs should immediately request a blood test for anyone presenting with one or more symptoms of blood cancer.
Blood cancer symptoms can be vague, with patients often reporting general fatigue, night sweats, weight loss, or bruising, all of which can be mistaken for other, less serious conditions such as being run down or flu. Because of this, blood cancer patients often have to visit their GP significantly more times than other cancer patients before being referred to hospital for diagnosis.
Rosie Cooper MP said:
“Blood cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, and someone is diagnosed every 14 minutes. Despite this, general awareness among the public, health professionals, and policymakers is very low and we must work together to change this across the country and in West Lancashire.
“Unlike solid cancer tumors, blood cancer cannot be surgically cut out, and consequently blood cancer patients have a very different experience to other people with cancer. Currently they are not receiving the treatment and support they deserve, and so I call on the government and NHS England to urgently address the specific needs of blood cancer patients in West Lancashire and take immediate steps to improve their care.”
The report, The ‘Hidden’ Cancer -; The need to improve blood cancer care, concludes that the government’s 2015 Cancer Strategy is not doing enough to support blood cancer patients and that patients feel let down.
The APPG report also recommends:
- NHS England should ensure psychological and emotional support is available to patients and families from the point of diagnosis and throughout treatment. This is particularly important for patients put on Watch and Wait treatment programmes, and not given treatment straight away.
- all blood cancer patients to be assigned to a clinical nurse specialist (1 in 10 patients do not have a CNS)
- better joined up working between primary and secondary health services, and between oncology and haematology teams
The full APPG on Blood Cancer report The ‘Hidden’ Cancer -; The need to improve blood cancer care is available here.
For further information about the APPG on Blood Cancer please contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org