Campaigning for change
We continued to campaign for better healthcare for people with blood cancer.
This included the launch of our End the Delays campaign, which called for the Government and the NHS to work to ensure people with blood cancer are diagnosed more quickly. This is because people with blood cancer were more likely to have to make multiple visits to the GP before being diagnosed than for any other common cancer.
Our petition on this was signed by more than 10,000 people, and we secured media coverage that included one of our Ambassadors being interviewed on Sky News.
As well as campaigning for the NHS to improve diagnosis, we campaigned to raise awareness of symptoms. For Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September 2019, our President Simon Thomas did a 30-Day Challenge to raise awareness of symptoms. This included walking on the wing of a plane and having one of his legs waxed live on ITV1’s Lorraine show. During the month, there were 26,500 views of the symptoms page of our website, compared to 8,000 the previous September. Simon’s activities also led to record numbers of people searching online for blood cancer symptoms, and we know of at least one person who was diagnosed sooner because of the challenge.
We met with more MPs and members of the House of Lords than ever before to talk to them about the issues facing people affected by blood cancer. We also strengthened the voice of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer, ensuring people with blood cancer continued to have a voice in Westminster.
We continued to work with people affected by blood cancer to get new treatments approved for use on the NHS, and were particularly proud of our role in ensuring ruxolitinib was approved in Scotland for the treatment of a rare blood cancer called polycythaemia vera.