Friday, 4 Dec 2020

Tory MP battling cancer in fight to prevent Covid halting progress against killer disease

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The Tory MP and mother of one told the Daily Express from her sick bed she would do anything to raise awareness about the “pernicious, nasty, invasive, non-discriminatory, unforgiving, life-shredding beastliness” of cancer.

And that is why the former sports minister has backed our campaign to help cash-strapped Cancer Research UK continue its life-saving work.

As this newspaper exclusively revealed the charity has not funded any new clinical trials this year because of a deepening Covid financial black hole, meaning tens of thousands of cancer sufferers have missed the opportunity to access potentially life-extending treatments. It funds around 10 new trials a year but all applications are on hold until at least the spring as budgets are slashed.

And it said the emergency could continue for the next five years unless it received urgent Government help.

 

Tracey, 45, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford in Kent, said: “Covid-19 has robbed us of so much already, it should not take away the world-beating and pioneering advancements we as a nation were making in cancer research that will save lives now and in the future.

“I am fortunate my own hospital kept its cancer services almost fully functional throughout the first wave of the pandemic but others I know did not.

“Our medical researchers are also on their knees and facing a financial cliff edge when it comes to funding.”

Diagnosed in June and currently undergoing gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, she added: “I hate cancer and I will do anything that raises awareness about its pernicious, nasty, invasive, non-discriminatory, unforgiving, life shredding beastliness.

 

“I might be ‘bravely’ working my way through my treatment and I desperately cling on to the reassuring words of my consultant and oncologist that I can be cured because I desire nothing more than seeing my four year old grow up into a young man, but I hate it with every cell in my body.

“If that means fighting for more research funding so we can prevent, treat and cure cancer, whatever type it is, then fight I shall.”

Tracey noticed a lump in her right breast in June and went to hospital the next day.

She had surgery to remove cancerous lumps on July 24, and has since been receiving chemotherapy at Maidstone Hospital oncology department.

Her public battle and infectious optimism has prompted thousands across Britain to share their own similar stories.

 

And last week she took to Twitter to urge people: “Check your bits & bobbins and go see your GP if you’re worried.”

Around 367,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed every year, equal to around 1,000 a day.

The fallout from the virus has badly impacted Cancer Research UK’s ability to raise funds, with a predicted drop in income of £300million over three years.

The funding crisis means Cancer Research UK could be forced to sack 1,500 scientists and lose more than a third of its 4,000 researchers, potentially putting tens of thousands of lives at risk.

Worrying analysis shows 126,000 patients have missed participating in trials financed by medical research-funded charities this year, including those searching for advances in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

 

But the cancer cuts also come as experts fear people are ignoring signs and symptoms because they cannot get a face-to-face doctor’s examination. It is estimated 50,000 people struck down with cancer during lockdown have not yet received a diagnosis.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Tracey for sharing her story and for her support.”

She added: “We’ve called on the Government to help support medical research charities with a short-term financial lifeline that will ultimately save lives.”

To donate to the Daily Express campaign supporting CRUK please visit: cruk.org/dailyexpress

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