This week, our Policy and Public Affairs Officer Thomas Brayford had the pleasure of attending Cancer52’s Annual All Stakeholder Event, which focused on inequalities for rare and less common cancers.
The keynote speech was delivered by Dr Bola Owolabi, Director of Health Inequalities at NHS England and NHS Improvement. Dr Owolabi spoke of the Core20 plus 5 initiative that is working to tackle inequalities in early diagnosis in rare and less common cancers. Many patients with rare cancers find themselves on the margins of discourse. The combination of equitable access and excellent healthcare, she said, will lead to better outcomes.
Dr Owolabi stressed the importance of early cancer diagnosis. An important part of this is listening to the patients and asking the important questions. She told the story of a patient who visited several GPs, fearing she had a brain tumour. Eventually, one GP asked: “So what do you think we’re missing?” Only then was the patient referred for further examination.
At the meeting, Sonia Malik, Head of Policy and Influencing at Young Lives vs Cancer and Chair of Cancer52’s Inequalities working group, launched Cancer52’s eagerly awaited report into inequalities. The report uncovers many examples of inequalities, for example women are more likely to be diagnosed with brain cancer via emergency presentation.
We welcome the report and urge stakeholders across government, healthcare, and social care to work together to remove the gaps that exist in outcomes for different people with cancer, particularly brain tumours.
As Sonia says: “All people with cancer must receive the best possible diagnosis, treatment and care, no matter who they are or where they live.”
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