Health Secretary urged to back £50m cancer plan

Backers of a £50 million plan to improve treatment for cancer in South Yorkshire have written to the UK’s health secretary Matt Hancock, asking for his support with this plan.

The Mayor of the Sheffield City Region and MP Dan Jarvis has joined 17 other MPs and council leaders who have written to the minister over plans for Sheffield’s Weston Park Cancer Centre.

The centre was “in urgent need of refurbishment”, the letter written to Matt Hancock said.

Mr Jarvis posted the letter onto his twitter account on Wednesday morning:

Mr Jarvis said the plan “would deliver cutting-edge innovation through cancer treatment in novel chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy”.

According to the letter,  although cancer services had been steady and remained the same throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, there were about 7,000 fewer cancer referrals and 500 fewer cancers diagnosed between March and December 2020.

The letter also mentioned the potential for the Covid-19 pandemic to create a “cancer epidemic”, stating that delayed diagnosis and treatment in the UK are expected to result in an increase in the number of deaths from colorectal cancer by 15% and 9% for breast cancer in the next five years.

Kirsten Major, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the centre was one of four dedicated NHS cancer hospitals in England.

She also said: “We have some of the best cancer specialists in Europe working in the centre, but we need to match the facilities we have with that expertise in order to continue to deliver the most advanced care possible for patients”.

Written by Joe Moore

Trainee journalist at the University of Sheffield.

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