The petition called for NHS England to commit to doubling survival rates for the less survivable cancers in the long term plan, due to be published next month.
It meant so much to walk up that famous street to deliver it, but more so because we were joined by people who live with such a diagnosis every single day.
This was an important demonstration of our community fighting to bring about real change.
The average five-year survival rate for the less survivable currently stands at 14%. With such a large gap between more and less survivable, it’s time for NHS England to recognise that these disease areas don’t fit with other cancers and must take action to tackle them.
This petition has shown there’s a weight of support behind this request and comes following a period of activity from the entire Taskforce and beyond.
In just under three weeks we’ve gathered almost 16,000 signatures calling for NHS England to commit to doubling survival of the less survivable cancers.
This could potentially save up to 10,000 lives a year.
They are due to publish the NHS long-term plan next month, and we hope to see this target included in that plan. If it is not included then NHS England owe an explanation to the 16,000 people who have signed this petition and the communities that they represent.
There was a letter in The Sunday Times from supportive MPs and Lords, a drop-in session for many MPs in Westminster, a formal submission to the NHS long-term plan, and lots of press coverage.
We hope that all this activity has been watched carefully by NHS England and that they will listen to this request.
All this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the whole community, who have really supported this, and the entire Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce including Action Against Heartburn, Guts UK, Pancreatic Cancer UK, British Liver Trust and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
United we are stronger and we will all see significant change.
We were joined by Steve and Katheryn White. The dad of two (pictured above) is living with a glioblastoma, diagnosed in July 2016 when he was aged just 43¸ and is passionate about there being quicker access to new treatments.
Steve and Katheryn are such inspirational advocates and it was great to have them there.
We look forward to working with NHS England going forwards as we look to ensure that the target is adopted and that it is also rolled out throughout the devolved nations.
We also need to ensure that once these targets are adopted, that we work with the NHS and all arm’s length bodies to guarantee that those changes to research, diagnosis, treatment and care are applied and that survival rates start to improve in a meaningful way.
Our plans for the devolved nations – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
In order to ensure the effectiveness of our petition, we have to be refined in our approach, which is why our survival target thus far is aimed only at NHS England. Pending the outcome of this campaign, we are planning on lobbying the devolved nations in accepting the survival target – NHS Scotland, NHS Wales and Health & Social Care in Northern Ireland.
No matter where a patient diagnosed with a less survivable cancer lives, whether that is England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it is imperative these cancers get the recognition they deserve in order to improve their survival rates. If we can commit NHS England to accept the target, we believe the other devolved nation’s health services will follow suit and begin to improve the survival rates of patients diagnosed with brain, liver, lung, pancreatic, oesophageal and stomach cancer.