More needs to be done to ensure that accurate figures are recorded for the number of people diagnosed with incurable secondary breast cancer, Alex Cunningham said when he met with Breast Cancer Care in Westminster, as accurate data collection is crucial to improvements in the treatment and care available.
Labour’s Stockton North MP was shocked to hear that, while data for primary breast cancer is currently recorded, no accurate figures exist to show the number of people diagnosed or living with incurable secondary breast cancer.
There are an estimated 36,000 people living with the disease, though consistent data on secondary breast cancer is woefully lacking. Without such robust data collection, it is extremely difficult for commissioners to effectively plan support services for people living with the disease, as demonstrated through the lack of specialist nursing and poor access to palliative care.
Attending the Parliamentary event on Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day, Alex said:
“It is extremely important to be showing my support for secondary breast cancer patients. And it has been a privilege to meet Sue Gyde, who suffers from secondary breast cancer, and hear of her campaign work to improve services for fellow sufferers across the country.
“It is shocking that we still don’t have accurate data on those living with this incurable disease and the Government must make steps to address this shortcoming an absolute priority. These missing numbers are making it almost impossible to plan the vital services needed, and those diagnosed with the disease are too often not getting the care they need.”
Danni Manzi, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Care, said: “We are extremely grateful to Alex for his support. Data collection is crucial to improving the care and support available for the women and men living with secondary breast cancer.
“Despite it being mandatory in England for hospitals to collect data on how many are diagnosed with the disease, this is still not happening consistently. Only when we have the full picture about the numbers living with the disease can we make informed decisions to ensure care services are planned effectively and that everyone affected by secondary breast cancer gets the support they need from day one.”