I am not unique in having experienced a family member being diagnosed with breast cancer.
I am also not unique in having lost a loved one to this disease, as well as having been fortunate enough to celebrate a loved one surviving their battle with breast cancer. My experience as an MP has put me in touch with many local families who are struggling with the effects of cancer and this October my thoughts will be particularly with mothers fighting breast cancer. I would like to pay tribute to the strength of these women in getting through each day with cancer while carrying on as mums. The first of October marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a period during which we can honour those who have suffered this horrible disease by raising awareness and funds for vital research. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and every year around 11,500 people lose their lives to the disease. In Wealden the incidence of breast cancer is approximately 189 per 100,000, which is higher than the English average of 170 per 100,000. Early diagnosis is very important in the battle against this disease and so I would encourage all women to carry out self-examinations in order to help detect breast cancer as early as possible. With early detection we can fight to improve breast cancer survival rates, which are currently 96.9% in Wealden. In terms of treatment, the UK has a unique National Cancer Programme which was established by the Conservative government. The National Cancer Programme is committed to rolling out stratified follow-up pathways in breast cancer by 2020; this will mean all cancer patients receive care which is uniquely tailored to their needs. Furthermore, the National Institute for Health Research spending on cancer research has risen from £101 million in 2010/11 to £135 million in 2014/15 and looks set to rise again. I hope many people across Wealden will take part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October and the many events taking place.