Council passes motion on rare and uncommon cancers
Hackney is thought to be the first council in the country to pass a motion pledging to raise awareness of, and support training and research into, rare and uncommon cancers.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer. A cancer is considered rare if fewer than six in 100,000 people are diagnosed with it each year. However, there are many types of rare and uncommon cancers, and 46% of diagnoses are in this category. Fifty five per cent of deaths from cancer in 2016 were from those forms of cancers, and people living with a rare or less common cancer often report difficulties in diagnosis, treatment and care.
A motion was unanimously passed by Full Council on 31 October to raise awareness of these forms of cancer, and work with local partners to ensure staff are trained to diagnose and support patients. The motion was passed in time for the Council to join others in marking International NET Cancer Day on 10 November.
On average 22 people in Hackney are diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) each year and more than 100 people in Hackney are currently living with this uncommon cancer. Sixty to eighty per cent of NET cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, often because of the similarity of symptoms to other conditions.
Councillors were joined by Nikie Jervis, of the NET Patient Foundation, at the meeting. The NET Patient Foundation is a national charity, providing support and information to patients and their families.
The motion passed by Hackney Council is very proudly and whole-heartedly supported by NET Patient Foundation - it provides a unique opportunity to not only improve the lives and experiences of many people affected by cancer but also show entire communities , specifically rare and uncommon cancer groups, that their voices are heard and their lives matter too.
By approving this motion and implementing the recommendations Hackney Council, in a pioneering step, can help to not only improve but also save lives.
The motion commits the Council to:
Join the international NET community on 10 November each year, raising awareness of NET cancers among decision makers, health professionals and the general public;
Launch a campaign with Hackney GPs and the NHS Trust to work toward improving an understanding of this disease among medical professionals, contributing to reduce delays in diagnosis
Work toward ensuring that the inclusion of rare and less commons cancers in the Cancer Strategy for England is reflected in Hackney’s public health strategy
Work alongside councils across London to explore the mechanisms for a London-wide strategy to increase awareness of NETs and other less common cancers
Recognise living with cancer is a long term condition and work with our partners to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone
Sadly, most of us will be touched by cancer in some way at some point in our lives, and while research and treatment for many forms of cancer has improved hugely in recent years, the same can’t be said for all forms.
By passing this motion and by taking part in NET Cancer Awareness Day, Hackney is laying the foundations for work with our healthcare professionals to ensure everyone is aware of NETs. This is the start of a programme of work that will contribute to the Council’s efforts to raise awareness and improve diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for people living with rare and less common cancers in Hackney.