Steve Brine joined a group of MPs meeting women and men living with breast cancer at a special Parliamentary reception on Wednesday 26th October.
More people are developing breast cancer than ever before – with 50,000 women and around 350 men diagnosed every year in the UK – and around 11,500 patients lose their lives to the disease each year.
Attended by more than 100 representatives from the breast cancer community, including 45 MPs, the reception was held in support of October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to keep the issues that matter most to breast cancer patients high on the parliamentary agenda.
With MPs, Peers, civil servants, health professionals, patients and charity representatives in attendance, the APPGBC announced the launch of a new parliamentary inquiry into geographical inequalities in breast cancer services across England.
Currently, while breast cancer patients should receive the same high level of treatment across England, unfortunately this is often not the case. Many patients receive varying levels of care depending on where in the country they live, with inequalities throughout the patient pathway, from early diagnosis through to treatment and survival.
Led by co-chairs Sharon Hodgson MP, Craig Tracey MP and Dr Philippa Whitford MP, as well as vice chairs Jo Churchill MP and Baroness Massey of Darwen, the inquiry will seek to establish the extent of these geographic variations, explore their impact on patients and ultimately make recommendations to reduce inequalities.
Although the inquiry will focus on breast cancer services and care in England, the APPGBC is keen to learn from examples of good practice in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and is encouraging people from the devolved nations to respond to the call for written evidence.
Steve Brine said: "As I moved into government I was sad to have to give up the chairmanship of the group, but it goes from strength to strength and I was both delighted and also moved to be here today and meet so many inspirational people."
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: "It was heartening to see so many MPs, peers, civil servants, healthcare professionals and patients come together to support those affected by breast cancer.
"Breast Cancer Awareness Month may have drawn to a close, but our work to save lives and to improve patients' experiences across the country must now continue.
"We are so grateful to Steve for his continued support both for breast cancer research and for women and men living with this dreadful disease."
Pictured; Steve Brine at the reception with Baroness Delyth Morgan, Sharon Hodgson MP and Robert Buckland MP