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Sunderland MP calls for end of breast cancer care inequality

Sharon Hodgson MP, third left, showing her support of the latest report on Breast Cancer.
Sharon Hodgson MP, third left, showing her support of the latest report on Breast Cancer.

A Sunderland MP is calling for the end of stark inequalities in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and care.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, is supporting the launch of new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer which finds concerning geographical variation in NHS services.

These widespread differences in the diagnosis, treatment and care of women with breast cancer, based on where they live, are shocking

Sharon Hodgson MP

In the report the group, supported by leading charity Breast Cancer Now, uncovers the true extent of the ‘postcode lottery’ in breast cancer diagnosis and care across England, with women in worst-affected areas found to be more than twice as likely to die from breast cancer under the age of 75 than those elsewhere in the country.

Following a year-long inquiry, which gathered evidence from NHS leaders, clinicians, patients and charities, the report found that while overall outcomes for breast cancer are improving, stark geographical inequalities exist across England in screening, early detection and access to treatment and services.

Mrs Hodgson, said: “These widespread differences in the diagnosis, treatment and care of women with breast cancer, based on where they live, are shocking. It was incredibly moving to hear from speakers at the launch event just how difficult it can be for breast cancer patients to get the support they need.

“It’s so important to attend routine mammograms so that we can detect breast cancer as early as possible to give women the best chance of survival.

“While such variation across the region exists, we’re falling short of the Government’s ambition of world-class outcomes for all cancer patients, and we call on NHS England and Public Health England to do all that it can in working with the Northern Cancer Alliance to ensure they receive the support they need to meet this challenge.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, said: “This crucial report uncovers variation in breast cancer services on a major scale. This alarming report must now act as a wake-up call.”