Childhood Cancer Debate in House of Commons
Posted on 27th February 2015 by Ross Whyte in Lobbying
Wednesday night saw a debate on Childhood Cancer organised in the House of Commons by Nicola Blackwood, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon. As it is to be expected from the biggest cancer killer of children, brain tumours figured heavily in a passionate debate on how the UK can improve services and the lives of children diagnosed with cancer.
Ms Blackwood introduced the debate by telling the story a young boy named Skye who tragically died aged six in 2014 from a grade IV metastatic medulloblastoma, the most commonly occurring brain tumour in children. Ms Blackwood described the stages of treatment Skye endured and how despite the best treatment available his parents lost their child. Ms Blackwood moved on to commend the recent work in child cancer that has seen eight in 10 children with cancer survive five years or more, compared with just three in 10 in the 1960s, and the level of commitment and funding from the Government to fighting cancer.
Ms Blackwood however moved on to raise several issues where care can be improved, in particular in the provision of clinical trials, data collection and research into childhood cancers. Of funding for research into brain tumours Ms Blackwood said “I am going to ask the Minister to consider whether having only 6% of childhood cancer funding going to the biggest killer in childhood cancer represents getting the balance right, and I am going to ask her to maintain investment in the Health Research Authority programme to streamline the regulation and governance processes for clinical research in the NHS.”
In response Jane Ellison, MP for Battersea and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, outlined the current projects that the Government is undertaking. The most interesting is a clinical trial on medulloblastoma in children and young people that is currently recruiting patients. This trial is being run jointly by the Department and the Wellcome Trust and is part of the “ground-breaking research” that Ms Ellison has said the Government is helping.
We are delighted that Ms Blackwood has joined the group of MPs in Parliament who are raising awareness of brain tumours and pressing for better outcome and thank her for organising such an important debate. As Ms Blackwood stated, Brain tumours kill more children than any other cancer yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research is allocated to this devastating disease. This is unacceptable! We are striving to fund a network of seven dedicated research centres whilst challenging the government and larger cancer charities to invest more in brain tumour research. Help us fund the fight. Together we will find a cure.