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Old Bexley and Sidcup MP presses for more radical approach to cancer

PUBLISHED: 17:17 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:17 19 April 2018

MP James Brokenshire has called for a more “radical” approach to dealing with cancer, just weeks after having a tumour removed from his lung. Picture: Andy Barnes

MP James Brokenshire has called for a more “radical” approach to dealing with cancer, just weeks after having a tumour removed from his lung. Picture: Andy Barnes

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Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire has called for a more “radical” approach to dealing with cancer, just weeks after having a tumour removed from his lung.

Mr Brokenshire also urged MPs to work together and quoted the “inspiring” words of Tessa Jowell as the Labour peer, who has brain cancer, watched on in the chamber.

The 50-year-old left his role as Northern Ireland Secretary in January, underwent surgery for lung cancer shortly after and returned to Parliament in February.

He paid tribute to the “incredible people” in the NHS for the care and compassion they delivered.

Speaking during a debate on cancer, Mr Brokenshire referred to Lady Jowell’s speech to the House of Lords in January, saying anyone watching would have moved by her “powerful and poignant” words.

Mr Brokenshire said he hoped the Commons debate would result in “continued momentum and a sense of purpose” to bring about “real change”.

He praised Lisa and Matt Taylor, the Bexley parents of Olivia who was diagnosed with a currently inoperable brain tumour aged 17 months in January, and lost her sight in February along with other cognitive functions.

They live in his Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency and have developed the KeepOliviaSmiling campaign online.

Mr Brokenshire said he hoped MPs could help make a difference.

He also said he had recently given permission for a sample of his tumour to form part of molecular research as he raised genetic analysis, which can predict how a cancer will evolve.

The Tory MP added: “I believe that the UK can be a world leader in this new era of precision medicine, driving forward innovative research to deliver new treatment options.

“But this will take time, when time for many is a precious commodity.

“That’s why the use of adaptive clinical trials remains important.

“Yes, there are existing routes to see new drug treatments being made available, such as the early access to medicine scheme and the Cancer Drugs Fund, but I believe we should be prepared to be more radical.”

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