Breast Cancer

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Labour, Birmingham, Northfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the levels of care and support available for women with breast cancer in (a) the West Midlands and (b) England.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, advises that breast cancer patients in Birmingham have support from a clinical nurse specialist and have a health needs assessment, which can refer patients for services including prosthesis fitting, wig referral, psychology service and lymphoedema service. In addition, there are several third sector organisations that provide a range of support to breast cancer patients across the area.

NHS England is committed to transforming cancer care across England for all cancers, including breast cancer, aiming to reduce inequality and promoting equity of access to services. To support this ambition, NHS England has committed more than £200 million in 2017/18 and 2018/19 to fund Cancer Alliances to accelerate early diagnosis of cancer, improve survival and enhance quality of life.

In February 2018, in partnership with the Department and NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) launched a Be Clear on Cancer Campaign focused on breast cancer in women aged over 70 to raise awareness of specific symptoms and encourage those with symptoms to visit their doctor.

To improve the uptake of screening, NHS England is continuing to invest in initiatives to help ensure equality of access, including through locally targeted interventions. These include text and general practitioner reminders and PHE’s new ‘Breast screening: easy guide’, which helps women decide whether screening is right for them.

NHS England agreed a Commercial Access Agreement with Roche for Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) which brought the confidential purchase price below the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence cost-effectiveness threshold, allowing approval in routine commissioning. This is offering breast cancer patients precious quality time with their families without damaging side effects.

Finally, we are committed to rolling out stratified follow-up pathways for breast cancer patients by 2020, to ensure patients get the right care after treatment, including information and support to spot signs and symptoms of recurrence or secondary cancer. As well as providing a better experience for patients and ensuring they have the information they need, stratified pathways can offer more effective use of resources by freeing up outpatient capacity. They can also ensure that in cases where there is recurrence or secondary cancer, patients are supported to return to care quickly and effectively.

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