Baroness Tessa Jowell received a standing ovation after delivering moving speech about her battle with brain cancer and calling for a change in the way the NHS treats cancer. She was diagnosed with a high-grade, fast-growing brain tumour, called a glioblastoma in May last year.
She spoke for the first time about her cancer on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, which was aired on Wednesday last week. In this interview, she commented that patients should be allowed to take the risk of having innovative treatments on the NHS.
In Prime Minister’s Questions, also on Wednesday, Theresa May pledged to prioritise cancer treatment and to keep NHS cancer treatments under review. She said, “We do want to make sure that the best treatments are being provided.”
On Thursday last week, Baroness Tessa took her campaign to the House of Lords, using her speech to urge for more collaboration and sharing of information by doctors to combat cancer and for more adaptive trials of new cancer drugs.
She also said, “So many cancer patients collaborate and support each other every day. They create that community of love and determination wherever they find each other. All we now ask is that doctors and health systems learn to do the same. Learn from each other. In the end, what gives a life meaning is not only how it is lived, but how it draws to a close. I hope this debate will give hope to other cancer patients like me. So that we can live well with cancer, not just be dying of it. All of us. For longer.”
She ended her moving speech saying it’s “not about politics but about patients” and was given a standing ovation by her fellow Peers.