Please allow me to assure you that improving outcomes for patients diagnosed with this disease remains a key NHS priority.
Childhood cancers are thankfully extremely rare, accounting for 0.5 per cent of all cancers in the UK, with around one child in every 500 developing some form of cancer by the age of 14 years. My deepest sympathies go out to every family dealing with such a challenging situation.
It is encouraging that spending on cancer research by the National Institute for Health Research increased from £101 million to £138 million between 2010/11 and 2019/20, but I recognise that there is more to be done to increase research into childhood cancers. My colleague Maria Caulfield MP (Minister for Primary Care and Public Safety) has offered to meet with MPs and cancer researchers to discuss barriers they face in accessing funding in this area.
Understanding the experience of children and young people with cancer is crucial for being able to improve their cancer treatment and care. That is why I was pleased to see that the first Under-16 Cancer Patient Experience Survey was published by NHS England in October 2021, following the campaigning of charities like Young Lives vs Cancer and Teenage Cancer Trust.
I strongly encourage children with cancer and their families to take part in the next survey that will take place later in 2022.
Unfortunately, I could not attend the debate due to my other Parliamentary duties, but I will continue to monitor this issue closely.