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MP fights for cancer patients to not get left behind during COVID-19 crisis

June 17, 2020 2:07 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has been campaigning for cancer patients not to be forgotten about during the coronavirus crisis after new figures revealed that the number of patients starting treatment has fallen by 20% compared to last year.

As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Radiotherapy, Tim recently met with NHS England's National Cancer Director Dame Cally Palmer and health minister Jo Churchill to make the case for stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) to be rolled out across the country.

The treatment is more precise and uses a higher dose than standard radiotherapy - cutting down the number of hospital visits vulnerable cancer patients will need to make.

Following the meeting, and much pressure from medical professionals, the Government have now announced that SABR will be made available in all cancer centres in England from April 2021.

Tim said: "This is really welcome news.

"However, April is still a long time away and the delay in people getting treatment over the past three months means that there is a big backlog of people who need cancer treatment.

"This upgrade needs to happen now so that cancer patients are given a better quality of life and a longer life.

Meanwhile Tim is also encouraging people who think they may have cancer to not delay in going to their GP, following news of a 60% drop in cancer referrals.

Tim said: "It's really important that if you have the slightest suspicion or doubt that you might have cancer then you should get in touch with your GP straight away.

"If you are worried about adding pressure on the NHS, don't - the support is there for you."