Contact your MP
Would you be willing to send an email to your local MP?
Step 1 – Locate your MP by keying in your postcode into the UK Parliament Website
Step 2 – When you locate your MP click on their name to obtain their email address. This is their House of Commons address – if you click on their website you will also get their constituency email address
Step 3 – Copy and paste the following into your email
Step 4 – If you want to add your own reason please add at the bottom or delete the section.
I am writing to you today as I am deeply concerned about the lack of awareness of Childhood Cancer.
If a child has a rash, the first thing a parent will do is use a glass to check to see if the rash disappears – this is what awareness has done for meningitis survivorship and whilst no parent wants their child to get meningitis, they are not afraid to talk about it.
The same cannot be said for Cancer – one of the most frightening words in the English language and one which no parent wishes to talk about particularly in regard to their children.
We urgently need to address this issue. Some 4,000 UK children and teenagers will be diagnosed with Cancer in the UK this year. There are approximately 10,000 children and teenagers receiving treatment at any one time. Cancer is also the leading cause of death in this age range with 3 out of 10 children and 7 out of 10 teenagers dying from these diseases. Almost half of those who go into remission will go on to develop a further cancer after 5 years. This issue needs tackling now.
A group of parents whose children have Cancer have got together to form a new charity whose primary focus and goal is to run the national Be Child Cancer Aware campaign. The aim of this campaign is to provide information about the symptoms of child and teenage cancer to every parent in the UK. Too many of our children are lost to these killer diseases through lack of awareness. Earlier diagnosis is crucial in ensuring that more children and teenagers survive. More needs to be done to raise awareness amongst GP’s who often dismiss the signs of cancer leaving parents feeling helpless. There are Child Cancer Referral guidelines contained in the NICE guidelines. Our GP’s just need to follow them. Would it be beneficial for this to be made into a policy / procedure and adhered to, with some form of control and monitoring?
When a diagnosis eventually comes, parents very often feel guilty that they didn’t do something sooner – this on top of dealing with the fact that their child has cancer.
Additionally, the campaign wants to see better, less harsh treatments for children – those that do survive are left with many scars or other health problems due to the actual treatment itself. Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy are just too harsh for a young child’s body to cope with. Adults find this difficult – imagine how it affects a child or teenager. Long term aftercare is a huge concern, not only the resources consumed but the physical and emotional strain on families. A lot of children will have high dependency due to the devastating effect some drugs have on their fragile bodies.
At the very least we should explore what other countries are doing to minimise the impact these drugs have on their patients and, report the findings.
Our children are our future and Cancer is robbing our children of being that future. Many of the parents whose children have cancer will say “I wish I had known more about it”. Yes, there is a lot being done to raise awareness of cancer generally but cancer in children is a totally separate issue and needs addressing separately.
I would urge you to read the Be Child Cancer Aware website www.bechildcanceraware.org This website is new and details the stories of many children who are battling cancer. One of the common comments is “It can take several weeks or months for a diagnosis” This extra time frame can not only impede the success rate of treatment but can also impact on the short term and long term resources that are then required, which considering the economic downturn and our current financial crisis leaves us pondering what could be done to minimise this.
The team at Be Child Cancer Aware are willing to participate in a think tank or committee to review the current process. The campaign group has many parents with several combined years of childhood cancer knowledge, treatment and aftercare experience. Some of these parents have extensive NHS & public sector working knowledge.
With a new coalition government, I would urge you to speak with your colleagues about this issue. Childhood Cancer Awareness needs to be tackled together.
If you do respond to this email, perhaps you would also send a copy of your response to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email
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