Inside Parliament: West Ham MP Lyn Brown- Mum’s cancer legacy is for me to fight on

Losing mum suddenly and unexpectedly to cancer, 18 months ago, was a huge shock and left a massive gap in my life. The pain lessens in its intensity, but I still miss her so much.

When MacMillan, the cancer charity, asked me to support their World’s Biggest Coffee Morning fundraising event, I seized the chance to do something practical and useful in mum’s memory.

Instead of visiting coffee mornings to eat cakes, I decided to bake and sell them myself. And bake I did: about a dozen cakes, supplemented by my good friend Sarah Ruiz and Helen Page with Newham’s W.I. We raised almost �900. I was delighted, but want to do even better next year.

In the UK, 2,000,000 people currently live with cancer and our diagnosis, treatment and mortality rates compare poorly with other countries. Survival rates are up, but the NHS needs continued investment to maintain the momentum.London-wide, 112 cancer-sufferers die per 100,000 cases. In Newham, that figure rises to 123. Our five-year survival rate for women with breast cancer is 75 per cent. The UK average is 83.4 per cent. Newham’s take-up of breast cancer screening is poor, 50 per against 74 per cent nationally, and partially explains these terrible figures. We must take responsibility for ourselves, use screening and see a doctor early, when something may be wrong.

Cancer already affects one-in-three people. I want that number reduced by early detection and every patient having the very best treatment, including cutting edge therapy. Figures and survival rates tell worrying tales we cannot ignore but each statistic is a real person suffering real pain. Their death is a real loss.

When it comes to cancer and health care, every life lost is one too many. Everyone in Newham deserves the very best cancer care. I intend to make my voice heard until we get it.

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