Hello! It's been a long time since I've blogged. Life is busy - just how I like it - but I do love to write and am passionate about my subject so I hope to create time to do more posts from now on.
There's just over a week to go until the UK General Election. I hope you've registered to vote if you are eligible - it's going to be a close race in my opinion and every vote will count. We get to decide who will be representing the constituencies we live in and representing our views in Parliament as well as ultimately deciding who will lead our country for the next few years. If you're over the age of eighteen and registered to vote then you have a chance to make your voice heard and exercise your right to vote.
To read about the manifestos of various parties and their stance on cancer related issues please click these links
Real progress is being made in the fight against cancer and CRUK's political actions is helping to accelerate this progress. Cancer is a political issue as well as a emotional one and it is something that matters to all of us. Survival rates have doubled over the last forty years but there is still lots more work to be done and this campaign is focusing on what the charity would like election candidates to focus on:
*Continued Support for Campaigns to Raise Public Awareness of the Signs and Symptoms of Cancer
Campaigns such as Be Clear on Cancer help raise awareness and encourage people to seek help when they feel they can identify some key signs and symptoms of cancer within their bodies. During the BCOC lung cancer campaign, 700 more people were diagnosed with lung cancer and 300 more received potentially life saving treatment compared to the same time period the year before. CRUK want the government to continue to support such campaigns in the UK.
*A Commitment to Increase Participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. As with most cancers, patients diagnosed at an earlier stage are more likely to survive, with four out of five patients with the earliest stage of the disease surviving at least five years after diagnosis. However fewer then one in ten patients are diagnosed at the earliest stage. CRUK would like the government to ask local areas to increase the number of people participating in bowel screening by at least 10% as well as providing quality information on the risks and benefits of the screening process so people can make an informed decision on whether to participate.
*Strengthen the System and Processes that Support Cancer Diagnosis
Health is a devolved issue but people living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can still get involved in the campaign as your next MP's will also need to be encouraged to keep cancer high on the political agenda. They will also have the power to advocate for improved health throughout the UK. Successful initiatives in England will have an impact on the other three nations so it is important MP's are aware of what is going on.
*Equal Access to Innovative Radiotherapy, Surgery and Effective Cancer Drugs, including Drugs Targeted to Patients' Tumours.
-Radiotherapy is a cost-effective and cutting edge cure for cancer. Treatments are becoming more sophisticated over time and CRUK believe it is important that patients receive the very latest treatments as soon as they have been proven effective and become available. Research suggests radiotherapy contributes to four in ten cases where the cancer is cured. My Ambo family helped secure over £23million from the government to help increase patient access to radiotherapy so that now over 6,000 more patients have access to a targeted radiotherapy with less side effects. CRUK now want to government to commit to a long term strategy to make innovative radiotherapy treatments available to all those who would benefit. This strategy should include details on how out dated radiotherapy machines will be replaced by newer equipment with more advanced techniques as well as how the workforce will be resourced,
-Surgery is essential when it comes to managing and treating cancer. It contributes to half of all cases were cancer is cured. Evidence suggests that older patients are less likely to have surgery for their cancer and CRUK believes surgery should be offered to ALL cancer patients where appropriate regardless of age. We want the government to commit to increase access to surgery for the older population.
-Cancer drugs are an important part in many patients treatment. Appropriate access to effective and innovative drugs is vital and we need the government to find a long term solution to make these drugs available to the patients who need them. NICE, the NHS and drug companies will be required to work together to make this happen. Personalised medicine is already revolutionising cancer treatment as it makes sure patients get the best drugs for their condition, and hopefully avoid side effects from the drugs specialists can predict will not work for them, We will hopefully develop many more targeted treatments in the future and we need to make sure the government and NHS develop a commissioning policy so patients can be offered the appropriate diagnostic tests.
Lizzy Allen, one of the lovely ladies looking after my Ambo family, has written a blog about the campaign which you can read here http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/10/24/its-time-to-cross-cancer-out-our-general-election-campaign/
You can take part in the campaign by taking two minutes to click the link and allow CRUK to email your election candidates and ask them to support the campaign. http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=149&ea.campaign.id=32425&ea.tracking.id=140b280a
Campaigns are what we Ambassadors do best and I'm hugely excited about this one. The build up to the general election is really important and I encourage as many people as possible to get involved and help decide who will be in charge of our country next. Thank you very much in advance for clicking the link!!
My story has been used as a case study which you can read here: http://m.newsshopper.co.uk/news/11885142.Chislehurst_woman_s_plea_to__cross_cancer_out__after_losing_6_family_members_to_the_disease/