Hastings Observer Column 12 October

Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer - half of us will be diagnosed with it at some point in our lives. It was with this in mind that I was pleased to hear the Prime Minister’s speech at Party Conference which outlined the Government’s ambitious plan to increase survivability of cancer sufferers and improve their quality of life. The key to increasing survival rates is through early detection which is why I welcome the Government’s overhaul to screening programmes and an additional £20 billion for the NHS by 2023/2024. This additional funding will help improve detection

I visited the Cancer Research UK stand during conference week and pledged my support in making a stand against cancer. The Hastings and Rother CCG have diagnosed around 1,300 cancer cases this year and unfortunately there have been around 620 cancer related deaths. This is a figure I hope to see decrease, as we use additional funding now available to the NHS to help detect life threatening cancers early and begin treatment.

As it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is important we remove the stigma associated with the illness to help increase chances of early detection and the number of individuals going for check-ups. As cancer is particularly prevalent amongst elderly individuals, we must ensure we are doing all we can to encourage awareness and early diagnosis. This is why I am delighted that Macmillan Cancer Care have accepted my invitation to join me at my second Hastings Seniors’ Fair which is being held at Sussex Coast College from 10am on the 19th of this month.

In a report published by Cancer Research UK, the link between smoking and cancer was highlighted. Unfortunately in our towns, the smoking rate is well above the national average at 25.7% of adults being regular smokers compared to the national average of 15.5%. I hope that local residents wishing to quit the habit will get involved with the Stoptober campaign run by the NHS which offers individual and personal support. I only stopped finally eight years ago. A few cigarettes were my guilty pleasure, but I do feel a sense of relief not to be sneaking off into the cold or even wet to feed that craving.

As the MP for this area, I will ensure additional funding from central Government is delivered to aid our local services here in Hastings, particularly in combatting the disease which claims far too many lives here and across the country.