Mark Menzies quizzes Minister over cancer testing

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FYLDE MP Mark Menzies secured a commitment from the Health Secretary for the increased availability of vital cancer testing during a session in the House of Commons.

Mr Menzies pushed the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP on the issue after the latest figures showed that increasing the use of diagnostic testing had improved survival rates across the country.

The Member of Parliament pointed out that tens of thousands more tests had been carried out by Fylde’s local health trust in the last year and he wanted to see that trend continue.

He told the Minister: “The excellent progress made in cancer survival rates is great news across the UK and in my constituency in Fylde.

“A lot of that is down to the increase in availability of diagnostic tests. Statistics from Blackpool’s NHS trust show that just under 33,000 more diagnostic tests were carried out in 2014 compared with 2010.

“With that in mind, will my right hon. Friend commit to increasing the availability of diagnostic tests?”

The Secretary of State for Health replied: “We absolutely can. In fact, we are carrying out about half a million more diagnostic tests for cancer every year than we were four years ago.

“The result is that, over the course of this Parliament, 700,000 more people are being admitted for cancer treatment in our hospitals than was the case in the previous Parliament, saving 12,000 lives every year.

“This Government inherited the worst cancer survival rates in western Europe and we have invested a record £450m in improving early diagnosis, which means that record numbers of people are being tested and record numbers of people are being treated.”

Following the session, Mr Menzies said he was pleased the Minister had recognised the importance of rigorous testing to improve diagnosis and survival rates.

He added: “Cancer is an evil disease which kills indiscriminately.

“However, the quicker it is identified the more chance there is of saving a patient so it is vital that people are tested quickly and consistently.

“That is why it is so important the Government continues to invest in improving early diagnosis and I was pleased the Minister highlighted that.”

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