Cllr Lucy Caldicott and Florence Eshalomi MP outside Parliament supporting the first ever Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day
Cllr Lucy Caldicott and Florence Eshalomi MP outside Parliament supporting the first ever Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day

Cllr Lucy Caldicott is the cabinet member for Health and Adult Social care (job-share) and a councillor in Stockwell ward.

Yesterday marked the first ever Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day, run by the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT). The six least survivable cancers are lung, pancreatic, liver, brain, oesophageal, and stomach. Despite representing only a quarter of cases in the UK each year, they are responsible for half of all cancer deaths. Only 16% of patients survive five years post diagnosis. For the most common cancers, the five-year survival rate is 69%.

Data released by the LSCT in 2021 showed awareness of these six deadly cancers and their symptoms is dangerously low at only 4%. Many patients with a less survivable cancer will only be diagnosed after an admission to hospital or an emergency GP referral after symptoms have become severe. With an NHS already stretched from an era of austerity and now focused on managing Covid patients and the vaccination programme, the government needs to take urgent steps to raise awareness of the symptoms of the Less Survivable Cancers and increase research funding.

These issues are personal to me as I lost my own mother to pancreatic cancer in 2021 and my grandfather died of the same disease in 1999. Knowing that survival rates haven’t increased in decades I am keen to see investment and progress to improve outcomes. Along with my own MP from Vauxhall, Florence Eshalomi, I’ve joined the campaign for greater awareness of symptoms, faster detection, and more rapid diagnosis of symptoms so that the people behind the statistics can live longer, happier lives. I’ve written to the Minister for Patient Safety and Primary Care, Maria Caulfield MP, to call for action to improve survival rates of the less survivable cancers and for increased awareness of symptoms.

We can reduce the stark inequalities in prognosis between cancers but to do this we urgently need more funding for research and a focus on early diagnosis. If we invest more in less survivable cancers then we believe we can dramatically increase life expectancy as well as improve the quality of life of thousands of people.

Cllr Lucy Caldicott

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