September is Blood Cancer Awareness month, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.
Blood cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK with 31,000 people diagnosed each year.
I sympathise profoundly with anyone who is affected and I pay tribute to charities like Bloodwise for their tireless efforts in funding research and campaigning to change the lives of people living with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other types of blood cancer.
Blood cancers are very different to other types of cancers as treatment is not about surgery or radiotherapy, it is about drugs.
It is therefore crucial that innovation and the development of new drugs is encouraged.
One such example is IMPACT, a £4 million clinical trials programme that is jointly funded by Anthony Nolan, Leuka, and NHS Blood and Transplant services.
By 2020, this much-welcomed project will have established 12 clinical trials involving approximately 1,500 patients.
It is of utmost importance that the Government continues its commitment to this work which will help to save lives.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on blood cancer recently published a report on the need to improve public awareness, early diagnosis and treatment.
It recommends that the Government and NHS England develop and support initiatives to raise awareness of blood cancer to improve early diagnosis.
More widely, it sets out recommendations for improving patient experience and increasing funding for research into new treatments.
I hope that the Government gives careful consideration to the APPG’s report and ensures that it is doing everything possible to give people living with blood cancer the best possible chance of successful treatment.