Beating bowel cancer together

Ben Lake MP, tells us why launching the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bowel Cancer is so important

Friday 21 April 2023

Ben Lake MP, Member of Parliament for Ceredigion, is the Chair of the newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bowel Cancer and serves as Plaid Cymru's Spokesperson on Health and Social Care. Mr Lake tells us why it's so important that this Group exists and what motivated him to become Chair.

Putting bowel cancer on the political agenda

When Bowel Cancer Awareness Month occurs every April, it provides a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of bowel cancer, a disease that has unfortunately impacted so many of us. This year, I am delighted to have officially launched the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bowel Cancer which, as Chair, I hope will help raise awareness of the disease in Parliament all year round.

All-Party Parliamentary Groups, or APPGs, are a great way for parliamentarians from all political parties to come together with campaign groups, charities, and other non-governmental organisations to discuss specific topics and policy areas that they are interested in. The newly launched APPG on Bowel Cancer will provide a much-needed space for MPs from the different political parties to consider the issues important to those affected by bowel cancer and ensure they are kept right at the forefront of the Government's thinking.

An issue close to my heart

I am particularly pleased to have been elected Chair of the new APPG on Bowel Cancer as I know first hand the impact of the disease having had personal experiences of family and friends living with and fighting bowel cancer. We all know how important an early diagnosis is, as nearly everyone will survive bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage. Yet bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest killer. Sadly, around 16,000 people die from the disease each year. There is a real opportunity for us to change this and I hope the APPG will play its part in improving outcomes for patients.

What we want to achieve

The APPG on Bowel Cancer has been set up to improve patient outcomes, promote best practice and encourage better collaboration between patients, parliamentarians, Government and the NHS. We are looking to work across Government to influence the development of policy that brings about the best for bowel cancer patients and their families. Key opportunities to influence policy over the next year include the expected workforce plan and the Major Conditions Strategy. The APPG will be working hard to ensure these important Government strategies focus on the things that matter most to bowel cancer patients such as building the endoscopy workforce and encouraging early diagnosis of the disease.

The official launch of the APPG in Parliament on 19 April, supported by Bowel Cancer UK, was a great way to begin our work raising awareness of bowel cancer in parliament and I was encouraged to see so many fellow parliamentarians join us to mark Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in this way. Through a series of future events and regular parliamentary engagement, I hope the APPG will continue bringing the needs of bowel cancer patients to the heart of health policy.

Bowel Cancer UK are proud to have helped set up the APPG on Bowel Cancer and are continuing to support the Group alongside M+F Health who provide the secretariat.

Pictured above (left to right): Ben Lake MP, Chair of the APPG, Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Vice-chair, Genevieve Edwards, CEO of Bowel Cancer UK, Gerald Jones MP, Vice-chair

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