Former Oundle pupil Himesh Patel calls on party leaders to make cancer a top election priority

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The former Eastenders star is calling for the next Government to help save more lives from cancer. As polling day fast-approaches, the actor has signed an open letter from Cancer Research UK urging party leaders to make the general election a turning point for people affected by the disease.

Highlighting the need to tackle cancer waiting times, unequal access to diagnosis and treatment and an estimated £1bn funding gap for life-saving research, the letter urges party leaders to make cancer a priority in their manifestos.

The charity says a long-term cancer strategy for England is needed to help transform survival.

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Now it’s issuing a rallying cry for people across Northamptonshire to show their support by following in Himesh's footsteps and signing the letter at cruk.org/letter.

Make this election a turning point for cancer.Make this election a turning point for cancer.
Make this election a turning point for cancer.

They have until the 5 June to join a groundswell of over 20,000 supporters, scientists and stars, including actors Stephen Graham and Daisy Edgar Jones, comedian John Bishop and TV presenter Alison Hammond, who have given it their backing.

With around half a million cancer cases a year projected in the UK by 2040 – of which nearly an estimated 49,000 could be in the East of England* - the need for people across the region to have their say is clear.

Cancer Research UK’s letter powerfully brings figures like these into sharp focus for party leaders stating, “Behind each statistic is a real person affected by cancer. Partners holding hands waiting for news. Friends missing at birthdays. Parents up late worrying.”

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The charity’s spokesperson for the East of England, Patrick Keely, said: “We've made huge progress in beating cancer over the last 50 years, but it remains the defining health issue of our time. So, with the countdown to the general election underway, we’re grateful to Hamish for his support.

“Cancer cases are rising and, every year, around 15,800 people in the region lose their lives to the disease**. That’s why we hope people across Northamptonshire will seize this opportunity to help turn the tide by signing our letter to party leaders and urging them to make cancer a priority in their manifestos.

“Our ambition for the future is simple: longer, better lives for people in the East of England and across the UK.”

Sign the charity’s open letter to party leaders at cruk.org/letter

BOX OUT: LONGER, BETTER LIVES IN THE EAST OF ENGLAND

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Developed with insight from cancer patients, Cancer Research UK has published its own bold cancer plan for politicians after the general election: Longer, better lives: a manifesto for cancer research and care.

It sets out a raft of key measures that it says, if adopted, could help transform the outlook for people affected by cancer in the decades to come.

The charity is calling on the next UK Government to:  

· Lead on cancer: Publish a long-term cancer strategy for England and establish a National Cancer Council, accountable to the Prime Minister, to drive cross-government action on cancer.   

· Back research: Set out a plan to close the more than £1bn funding gap for research into cancer over the next decade.   

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· End the waits: Ensure cancer wait time targets are met across England.   

· End cancers caused by smoking: This includes bringing back legislation to raise the age of sale of tobacco in the first King’s Speech after the general election and funding a world-leading programme of measures to help people who smoke to quit.  

· Drive earlier diagnoses: Implement proven measures, including a lung screening programme, to diagnose cancers early and reduce inequalities in access.   

Get involved at cruk.org/letter