03 AUG 2017

Cancer Statistics

Kent Messenger Column 03-08-17

Around this time last year I learned that my husband had prostate cancer. As you might expect it had a marked effect upon my whole family; it also realigned my own 'life priorities' significantly, and permanently.

When Cancer Research UK released their cancer statistics for Maidstone & The Weald last week, they had my attention. The full factsheet can be found here.

Thanks to hard work, investment and the talent and dedication of our superb NHS professionals; great strides have been made in our ability to treat cancer and survival rates are now higher than ever before. However, with around 2,600 cases a year in West Kent alone, there is still much more to do, and the stats are one indicator of the strengths and weaknesses in our region.

Whilst our local NHS performs above the national average in diagnostics, with 55.9% of cases diagnosed early, delivering shorter waiting times between urgent GP referral and treatment is critical to ensuring that patients have the best chance of making a recovery. West Kent falls below both the national average and national target by this measure. With this in mind, I have written to Dr Bob Bowes, Chair of West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, to get his take on these and other numbers in the report, in order to understand the picture more completely. I will publish his response on my website when I have received it.

The NHS treatment my Simon received was nothing short of outstanding. He was diagnosed very early and following space-age surgery he was pronounced cancer-free in March, and remains so now. Nowadays one in two people in the UK will develop cancer at some stage in their lives and my message is simple; get tested early and regularly. If you find it, you have a chance to fix it.

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