I recognise the devastating impact that Sarcoma can have on those affected by the condition and their carers. In particular, it is concerning that patients with sarcoma consistently report poorer care experiences compared to those with other cancer diagnoses in the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey.
Increased awareness of the signs and symptoms of Sarcoma is clearly vital to delivering earlier and more accurate diagnoses and improving outcomes from treatment.
While there are no specific plans for a national Sarcoma awareness campaign, NHS bodies have been promoting the "Help Us Help You" campaign to encourage people aged over 50 year old who are experiencing symptoms of sarcoma cancer - such as a lump, pain, abdominal discomfort and a cough - to contact their GP.
Sarcoma UK has highlighted the impact on sarcoma patients of diagnosis and treatment on their mental health and wellbeing. It is important that the NHS delivers against the Long Term Plan's commitment that all patients diagnosed with cancer - including those with sarcoma - should receive a Personalised Care and Support Plan that evaluates their mental health.
Last month, I met with national bone and soft tissue cancer charity Sarcoma UK to discuss some of the fantastic work the charity is doing to take action for children, teenagers and young adults diagnosed with sarcoma: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/mims-davies-mp-takes-action-teenagers-and-young-people-living-sarcoma
As the Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex, I am proud to work with Sarcoma UK to help spread awareness of this rare cancer in young people. I know that the NHS has committed to meeting the Faster Diagnosis Standard so that by 2024, 75 per cent of patients who are urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer either have a diagnosis or have cancer ruled out within 28 days. Furthermore, the NHS is prioritising the goal of meeting the early diagnosis ambition, so that 75 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stage 1 or 2 by 2028.
Nevertheless, it is clear to see that more needs to be done to support young people and to improve their experience through specialised services and research.