Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner joined colleagues, charity representatives and patients at an event at the House of Commons to find out more about the challenges dealt with by people living with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL).
CLL is the most common type of leukaemia - a cancer of the white blood cells – in adults. It means that stem cells start overproducing white blood cells that are not fully developed – in CLL, these are called lymphocytes. Although many people with CLL will not have symptoms for a long time, when they develop they can include an increased number of infections, increased tiredness and fatigue and bleeding and bruising more easily. It is estimated that around 3,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with CLL each year.
The CLL Support Association (CLLSA) recently held an event in the House of Commons to give MPs the opportunity to find out more about CLL and hear directly from patients currently living with the condition. Daniel Zeichner MP heard about the challenges that patients face, including the need for proper post-diagnosis support to help patients understand the condition and manage their symptoms and treatment options; and the need to improve access to treatment options, including innovative new drugs which improve survival and quality of life.
David Innes, Chair of the CLL Support Association, said: “CLL is the most common form of leukaemia in adults, and the CLLSA is keen to improve awareness of the disease and its impact. The key challenges we need to tackle at the moment are to improve post-diagnosis support to ensure that all people who are newly diagnosed get the information and support they need; and to improve access to new and innovative drugs which are increasingly making a difference to the lives of those with CLL. We were delighted to have the opportunity to talk about these challenges with MPs.”
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “I believe it is important for parliamentarians to be fully aware of the challenges people with leukaemia face and I am grateful to the CLLSA for organising this event.
“As MPs we have a duty to represent our constituents and to fight for improved treatment and proper care for those affected. Having the opportunity to speak to members of the CLLSA and hear their stories first hand is an invaluable experience for any Member of Parliament as we debate this issues in Westminster. I will be raising the matter when I meet staff at Addenbrooke’s in the next week”.