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The All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer's landmark annual conference for 2007 took place on 4th December at the Church House conference centre in Westminster. The 2007 conference addressed the latest developments in cancer: developments in patient care, cancer care, research and health policy.
Over 25 politicians, patients, clinicians, charity representatives and researchers spoke in plenary and breakout sessions at Britain Against Cancer 2007, with around 350 delegates in attendance.
Below you will find some of the presentations made at the conference, available for you to download:
Ann Keen states improving cancer services are: "a top priority for the Government."
Ms Keen noted that despite such achievements, there was still "much more to be done", due to demographic changes, which now saw people living longer, and a greater number of people living who had survived cancer.
Such social changes presented a number of opportunities to develop new cancer treatments and to create a new model for cancer care, she added.
Britain Against Cancer conference 2007
The Minister said that alongside the Cancer Reform Strategy, the Government would go further to prevent the disease, announcing plans for a consultation next spring to assess the 'next step to end tobacco addiction'. She added that the Government had also pledged to increase the age of individuals entitled to breast and bowel cancer screening, as well as implement a number of initiatives that would raise public awareness of cancer.
Moving on, Ms Keen stressed the importance of making improvements in the three main cures of cancer, surgery, radiography and drug therapy, and said that further training would be provided in surgical techniques, as well as the extension of waiting time targets for all types of cancer.
She added that the Government would also increase radiography spending by £300 million for new equipment and to expand the workforce, as well as ensuring that all cancer drugs were referred to NICE.
Addressing inequalities in cancer treatment, the Minister said that the Government would be working further with charities and clinicians to look at how services could be uniformly offered to all, and announced plans for a National Cancer Equality Initiative.
Ms Keen also spoke of the need to improve the experience of cancer patients, through increasing the number of specialist nurses in the UK and improving the information and emotional support available. She added that it was also important to think of the quality of life for cancer survivors, and provide individuals with long term support including help to return to the labour market.
Concluding, she said that the Prime Minister had spoke of his intention to make cancer care a top priority for the Government, and had pledged to make cancer care and services in the UK 'world class'. She added that as Minister for Cancer, she would work to ensure this was delivered.
A brief question and answer session followed with Ms Keen and the National Cancer Director, Mike Richards. Dr Ian Gibson asked Mr Richards whether the Cancer Reform Strategy included additional spending to tackle the disease.
Responding, Mr Richards said that the Strategy did include further funding, as there had been a Comprehensive Spending Review since the formation of the Strategy which had recognised the need to increase spending to deliver world class cancer services in the UK, but warned that the NHS would also be expected to deliver value for money.
A representative from the Prostate Cancer Awareness Association put to the panel that there was no mention of prostate cancer in the Cancer Reform Strategy, despite the fact that the disease was the "biggest killer of men in the UK."
The Minister for Cancer, Ms Keen, replied that she had recently met with representatives to discuss how individuals with prostate cancer could be better supported, and that she would continue to look into the matter. She added that the Government was 'well aware' that support was insufficient.
Asked why NICE had restricted the drug Velcade to patients suffering their first relapse of myeloma, Mr Richards said that the problem here was that NICE was limited to look at license indications only, and that maybe a review was needed.
A member of the audience asked the panel whether the UK needed a reform of its Cancer Strategy, or whether more money was needed.
The National Cancer Director said that budgetary figures for cancer services had increased by 27% over the last three years, but that there also had to be reform of inpatient care.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer would like to thank the sponsors of the 2007 Britain Against Cancer conference who make a valuable contribution to the development of cancer treatments, but who have no control over the APPG's activities or publications:
Abbott Molecular, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Pfizer, Pharmion, sanofi Aventis, sanofi pasteur MSD and Roche
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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