Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith has backed an appeal from Cancer Research UK for more NHS staff who can deliver life-saving cancer tests and treatments.

Mr Smith met with campaigners from the charity during the Labour Party Conference recently to hear about the “Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer” campaign.

It calls for the Government to tackle the chronic shortage of staff who diagnose and treat the disease saying that, in order to speed up and improve cancer diagnosis and treatment, investment is needed in key professions, including radiographers and radiologists, endoscopists and pathologists, as well as oncologists, nurses and surgeons.

Every year, 3,600 people are diagnosed with cancer in the Aneurin Bevan Health board area and 1,600 people lose their lives to the disease.

As the population grows and ages, that number is only set to rise.

Mr Smith said: “Here in Blaenau Gwent, in the birthplace of the NHS, we have particular cause to be proud of the 70 years of fantastic work from the NHS.

“It is so important that we ensure it is fit to face the coming decades.

“We need an NHS where people are given the best chance at surviving cancer, for it to be diagnosed early and for patients to receive the best treatment possible.

“That’s why I’m happy to back Cancer Research UK’s call to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer.”

Shaun Walsh, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Cancer Research UK, said: “Over 170 UK parliamentarians from across the political spectrum are already backing the Shoulder to Shoulder campaign, and we’re grateful to Nick Smith MP for his support.

“This is a critical opportunity for cancer care in the UK. By 2035, more than 500,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer every year across the UK.

“By acting now and investing in the early diagnosis and treatments workforce, so many more lives could be saved.

“By 2034, our ambition is for three in four people to survive their cancer, but advances in technology and treatment mean nothing if we don’t have the staff to deliver them.

“That’s why the support of MPs like Nick Smith, is so vitally important to help make the UK’s cancer services the best in the world.”

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