The NHS has “high priority” for breast-cancer research, a senior doctor says.
The comments from Dr David Gough were made in a keynote speech by former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley at the Institute of Public Health, an event organised by the British Association of GPs (BAGP).
Dr Gough was speaking about his experiences working in the NHS, which has had a history of high-profile cases of breast cancer.
He told the audience the NHS had seen a “tremendous rise” in cases of the disease in the last five years, with the number of new cases expected to grow by 200,000.
“We’ve got a lot of great breast cancer patients,” Dr Gough said.
A recent study found there were nearly 50,000 new cases of this cancer every day.
Dr Grough was speaking after speaking at the University of Warwick in the UK.
At the Warwick event, the British Breast Cancer Research Trust (BCBTR) president, Dr Pauline Tynan, said there was a “great deal of work” being done in breast cancer treatment, and “there is much more work to be done” in research.
She said research on how to prevent and treat breast cancer had “seen a huge increase” in the past five years.
“This is a significant, important development,” she said.
“It’s not only the research that’s coming along, but the evidence that’s being put out there.”
Dr Tynam said it was “an exciting time for the NHS”.
“We need to make sure we are really thinking about the research, because there is so much work to do,” she told the BBC.
“We have a lot more work that needs to be put out, but it is exciting to see how much of that work is coming along.”
The UK is home to more than 7,000 cases of cervical cancer, which affects about half a million women a year, and there are now almost 800,000 women living with it.
There are currently no treatments for the disease, which is also known as the Great Lakes Breast Cancer Project (GLBCP).
Dr Tyshane Tshabalala, the chief executive of the BCBTR, said the NHS needed to do more to improve the lives of women.
“In my view, the best way for us to improve women’s lives is to increase access to treatment, which means more breast cancer care, more research, and more women being given a full range of treatments,” she explained.
“That’s what we are here to do, we are working on that and we are excited about it.”
Dr Goug said it would be “inappropriate” for the government to interfere in breast-colon cancer research, saying: “I have no issue whatsoever with women going to the NHS.
I have no objection to people going to university, but that’s not my role as the NHS.”
Dr Sophy Brown, from the National Breast Cancer Trust (NBFCT), which represents more than 50,00 breast-care organisations, said Dr Grough’s comments were “troubling” and “misleading”.
“The Government’s role is to look after women, to make breast cancer a priority, not interfere with research,” she added.
“It’s unfortunate that they’ve come out and said that the NHS is not really doing enough research.
That’s not what this research is about.”
The BBC contacted the BAGP for comment, but did not receive a response.
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