Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, has marked World Cancer Day – held every year on 4th February – at a number of events taking place in Newcastle and Westminster this week.
Every year, around 2,800 people across the Newcastle and Gateshead area are diagnosed with cancer, and in the UK one in two people will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime. World Cancer Day is an opportunity for people, organisations and countries to work together, raise awareness and take action to beat cancer.
Catherine started the week with a visit to Maggie’s Newcastle, whose centre at the Freeman Hospital provides a wealth of advice, support, information and a range of activities for anyone affected by the disease. During her visit, Catherine spoke with staff and volunteers about the services they provide, and with members of the men’s drop-in group which meets at Maggie’s Newcastle each week.
Later in the week, Catherine met up with the team from the Macmillan Cancer mobile information and support service, which was visiting the West Denton shopping centre to promote awareness of the ways in which Macmillan can provide confidential support and advice to those affected by cancer, whether medically, financially, emotionally or practically.
The Newcastle North MP also met in Parliament with campaigners from Cancer Research UK, to receive an update on the charity’s latest world-leading research – including that taking place at Newcastle University – and their target to ensure more people can survive cancer. Today, two in four people survive their cancer for at least ten years, and Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, three in four people will survive their cancer for at least ten years.
Early diagnosis is a vital part of ensuring more people survive cancer, and the Government has made a commitment to diagnose 75% of cancer cases in England at stage one or stage two by 2028. However, to reach this target the NHS needs a long-term plan for the cancer workforce. Without this, there will not be enough specialist staff to meet the present pressures or cope with the growing and ageing population.
‘World Cancer Day helps to raise awareness of the scale of the challenge we still face, and the role we can all play in the fight against the disease which continues to have devastating consequences for so many.
‘Cancer affects us all, and it was so uplifting to see and hear more about the fantastic local work of charities like Maggie’s Newcastle and Macmillan Cancer to support those living with it.
‘I was also please to reiterate my support for the vital, life-saving work of Cancer Research UK and their ongoing campaign to ensure we can beat more cancers and sooner.’
Shaun Walsh, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigning at Cancer Research UK, said:
‘A big thank you to Catherine for joining us to raise awareness of World Cancer Day.
‘Parliament has a big part to play in ensuring we work together to beat cancer sooner, and the shared ambition to diagnose more cancers earlier in the years ahead is a welcome one.
‘Now to achieve a truly world-leading service and reach our goal of 3 in 4 people surviving cancer by 2034, we need to fill current vacancies in the cancer workforce and invest for the long term to produce NHS cancer professionals for today and generations to come.’