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Parliament debates secondary breast cancer

This Tuesday saw a debate in the Westminster Parliament on secondary breast cancer, the first time it has been debated for a number of years.

This Tuesday saw a debate in the Westminster Parliament on secondary breast cancer, the first time it has been debated for a number of years. Tabled by Annette Brooke MP one of the co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer MPs used the opportunity to raise a number of issues facing people living with secondary breast cancer. Encouragingly the government responded during the debate recognising the need to do more to support people with a secondary breast cancer diagnosis.

In her opening speech Annette highlighted the difference in the standard of care that many people experience following their primary diagnosis and their secondary diagnosis. She pointed out that it's far less common to have access to a clinical nurse specialist and that many are not being referred to a palliative care team at an early enough stage for important symptom control and pain management.

Improving care and support

Annette also drew attention to the work of Breast Cancer Care in improving the care and support for secondary breast cancer including our Taskforce which brought together all the issues for the first time as well as our more recent petition which has secured over 12000 signatures.

Other MPs contributed with points about making sure that psychological needs are met as well as ensuring that care is also improved in Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.

Underpinning all of these issues Annette explained that the collection of data on secondary breast cancer was inadequate. Despite it being mandatory for hospitals to collect information about their secondary breast cancer patients no data has been published yet. This means that health services cannot be planned properly around the needs of people living with the disease.

In response Jane Ellison MP Public Health Minister and speaking on behalf of the government recognised the importance of supporting people with secondary breast cancer. She accepted that there was room for improvement in the collection of data. She also reiterated the government’s ambition to be the best in the world in cancer care and said that more was to be done in order to achieve this.

While there was no vote on this debate what was said shows that momentum is growing. We'll continue campaigning to make sure that everyone with secondary breast cancer gets the care and support they need. We see this debate as another step towards helping us to achieve that.

Watch the debate or read the full transcript.

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