Today I took part in a Westminster Hall debate discussing the signs and symptoms of cancer in teenagers and young adults.
Taking part in this debate was particularly important to me as I wanted to build upon the fantastic work of my colleague and friend, Amy Callaghan, MP for East Dunbartonshire.
Amy has been a tireless campaigner for raising awareness of cancer in young people and has just been elected to Chair of the APPG for Children, Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer.
Thus far the APPG has undertaken powerful work to raise awareness of the symptoms of cancer and the issues that affect young people with a cancer diagnosis.
I am confident that as Chair Amy will continue that brilliant record of work of educating and helping young people diagnosed with cancer and their families caring for them.
In the debate I wanted to highlight how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected young people with cancer and their subsequent treatment and care.
I read many cases of young people who were worried that they were wasting the time of the NHS – particularly during the first wave of the pandemic when many hospitals were at capacity.
It is so important that people of all ages know that if they are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of cancer that they should contact their local GP.
During this time, it is also vital that young people know the signs and symptoms of cancer – although they may differ from person to person, the common symptoms are, lumps, unexplained tiredness, mole changes, pain, and significant weight change.
I want to reassure young people that if you have any of these symptoms and are worried about your health, then you will be listened to and taken seriously – the NHS is and always will be there for you.
Right now, despite the pandemic, the NHS continues to actively encourage people to contact their GP if they are worried about possible cancer symptoms.
Facing cancer as a young person can be incredibly scary and overwhelming – I want to pay tribute to all the young people undergoing treatment for a cancer diagnosis – alongside thanking their families, carers and NHS staff who are working hard to support them.
If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis, the websites listed below are great resources, providing information and guidance.
Teenage Cancer Trust
Disclaimer: The above links may lead to external websites and the inclusion of such links does not imply endorsement of the content. Although I make every effort to ensure these links are accurate, up to date and relevant, I cannot take responsibility for the content of pages maintained by third parties.