The new group, whose first meeting took place at Westminster on Tuesday 14 June, will raise awareness and promote the needs of blood cancer patients among parliamentarians and the Government.
L-R: Jim Shannon MP, Jess Philips MP, Colleen Fletcher MP and Henry Smith MP, officers of the new APPG on Blood Cancer
There are currently 230,000 people in the UK living with blood cancer, which includes leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Research by specialist blood cancer charity Bloodwise has shown that public awareness of blood cancer is low and that patients often feel isolated and believe these cancers are seen as ‘separate’ from other cancers. Bloodwise will provide secretarial support to the newly founded group, and will work together with everyone in the blood cancer community to make sure the voice of blood cancer patients is heard in Westminster.
Mr Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, has been appointed the first chair of the group. After the first meeting he said:
“I’m honoured to chair the new APPG on Blood Cancer. I’m looking forward to continuing to promote awareness of blood cancer, and highlight the needs of patients and their families with other MPs, the Government, as well as NHS and charity stakeholders. Blood cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK. This is a personal issue for me as well, as I lost my own mother to acute myeloid leukaemia a few years ago.
“The group will bring together MPs and Members of the House of Lords, as well as experts on blood cancer from the charity Bloodwise, who I have been pleased to work with previously. The initial meeting was very productive and I’m looking forward to taking this group forward.”
The group will focus on a number of issues affecting patients, including low awareness of symptoms among the public and GPs, access to specialist nurses and improving the provision of post-treatment care and support.
Diana Jupp, Director of Patient Experience at Bloodwise, said: “Blood cancer claims more lives each year than either breast cancer or prostate cancer, yet public awareness of the disease remains very low. The formation of this group is an important step towards addressing this and improving the lives of those affected by blood cancer. We’re delighted and very grateful that Henry Smith has agreed to chair the group. His expertise, dedication and passion for helping patients will be invaluable.”
For any information about the group please contact Mil Vukovic-Smart, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.