Yesterday, Dame Caroline Dinenage met with the Minister for Patient Safety and Primary Care, Maria Caulfield to discuss a Childhood Cancer Mission to prioritise preventing, diagnosing and treating children’s cancer. The meeting was prompted by Caroline’s recent debate in the House of Commons on Childhood Cancer Outcomes.
Caroline, a former Health Minister, was joined by her constituent Charlotte Fairall, the mother of Sophie Fairall. Sophie was just 10 years old when she died last September, 12 months after having been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma. Charlotte has been determinedly campaigning for improvements in how we detect, treat and care for children with cancer, ever since.
In her debate on Childhood Cancer Outcomes in the House of Commons, Caroline called the Government’s 10-Year Cancer Plan to include a Children’s Cancer Mission.
The 10-Year Cancer Plan has ambitions to make the country’s cancer care system the ‘best in Europe’, with a renewed focus placed on innovative cancer treatment and early diagnosis. Caroline has asked for dedicated commitments to children’s cancer in the Plan, with more emphasis placed on improving childhood cancer outcomes.
Childhood cancer is often referred to as rare, but is the biggest killer of children under the age of 14. In this age group, there are around 1,800 new cancer cases every year. One in 320 people will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday, and 12 children and young people diagnosed every single day in the UK.
Commenting Caroline said:
“The Government’s 10-year plan for cancer presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to move the dial on children’s cancer outcomes.
I’m grateful for the Minister’s assurance of her commitment. Charlotte and I have offered to facilitate a round-table meeting with experts in paediatric oncology, genomics and research in this field. I will keep pushing for this to be given the focus and importance it deserves.”
Commenting Charlotte said:
“Thank you to Maria Caulfield for giving up her time to meet with Caroline and myself. I feel it was a positive meeting, sharing ideas and the way forward with childhood cancer. The government has a real opportunity to make significant changes to how children are diagnosed, treated and the improvement to research. I really hope they implement the childhood cancer mission as I truly believe it will save lives.”
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