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Parliament hears breast cancer patient voices

Read about our MP event with our Breast Cancer Voices.

A woman who has been through breast cancer treatment twice told MPs she felt privileged to be able to give something back to others: ‘…to improve treatment and their experiences of treatment is really important to me.’

Tamsin was speaking at the House of Commons in Westminster last week at an event organised by us to tell MPs what access to breast cancer treatments means to patients such as them. 

Along with Breast Cancer Care staff four of our Breast Cancer Voices met with MPs to talk about the new system of value-based assessment of medicines the Government plans to introduce in England later this year.

We told the MPs about our new report Delivering value for breast cancer patients. This gives details of our 2013 survey and phone interviews with Breast Cancer Voices asking what they value when it comes to treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is expected to launch a public consultation next month on the proposed new assessment system that will decide which medicines should be routinely available in the NHS. Breast Cancer Care will be responding to the consultation.

What we told MPs

We asked MPs to champion breast cancer patients by using what they learn from them to examine the new proposals in the House of Commons. Our main messages based on our research are:

  1. Patient voices must be heard in discussions about a new system of medicines assessment and in the new system itself.
  2. NICE must work with patients the voluntary sector and industry partners to ensure the quality of life that a medicine can add is captured by value assessment.
  3. Any new system must include needs of patients both with primary and secondary (metastatic) breast cancer. It must recognise the value to patients with secondary breast cancer of treatments that can add months of life and improve quality of life.
  4. Any new system must promote equality and not discriminate against any particular social group.

What our Breast Cancer Voices said

There really is a place for the patient voice… I just feel underrepresented by my limited experience of NICE… I don’t think [the patient voice] has been represented as fully as people would like in the past. - Pat Breast Cancer Voice

It’s important because I am a secondary cancer sufferer… It is quite important today to put my point across and get my view heard by as many MPs as possible. - Amanda Breast Cancer Voice

It’s been a fantastic opportunity to actually speak to some people and to see their reaction and know that they are actually listening to what we are saying… I hope it [value-based assessment] is an opportunity for real change and I hope that NICE will actually listen to what people are saying such as Breast Cancer Care that patients need a voice.-Ines Breast Cancer Voice

For me it’s a privilege to be here after being through treatment for breast cancer twice… to feel able to contribute something back to others to improve treatment and their experiences of treatment is really important to me. - Tamsin Breast Cancer Voice

Add your voice

If you’d like to add your voice to Breast Cancer Care’s work consider joining our Breast Cancer Voices. You'd help all aspects of our work from reviewing our publications completing research surveys to taking our campaign actions forward. You’ll get bulletins once every two months with opportunities to take part. You might even end up in Westminster the Senedd or Holyrood.

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