James calls for improvements to screening, awareness and stigma of cancer

James Brokenshire has called on Government Ministers to focus on better screening, greater awareness of and breaking stigma attached to cancer to improve outcomes.

Speaking in the Queen’s Speech Debate on Health, James said that the Government needed to give clear attention to this ‘SAS’ in order to achieve the NHS’s objectives on cancer.  The NHS Long Term Plan has the objective to dramatically improve cancer survival by increasing the proportion of cancers diagnosed early, from a half to three quarters.

James’ comments came almost exactly two years to the day from his surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his lung.  In thanking NHS staff for their incredible work James said that he counted his blessings every day.

Speaking further during the debate, James said:

“We need to focus on what I term the ‘SAS’: better screening for the disease, greater awareness of the disease, and a breaking of the stigma attached to the disease. By doing that, we can make a real step change.”

“I welcome the introduction of the targeted lung cancer screening programme, which I championed, and which is being rolled out as we speak. I commend the charities and the regular campaign events to highlight the symptoms and, yes, the importance of getting things checked out—especially for us blokes, who can be pretty rubbish at actually going to the doctors and doing something about it. The stigmas are linked to that, and we need to talk about the big C, because it is the disease that dare not speak its name.” 

You can read the full transcript of James’ speech at:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-01-16/debates/8FF34846-E79D-40FD-9B8C-B0DF1CDC96F6/HealthAndSocialCare#contribution-6093C8B3-6134-42D3-8DA1-77B2CFBD8B65