Set up in 2011, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ovarian Cancer is made up of MPs and peers and meets several times during the year. Target Ovarian Cancer provides secretariat duties for the group.
The APPG will need to be reformed after the general election in June 2017.
Purpose of the APPG
- to provide a forum for MPs and Peers to discuss ovarian cancer related issues
- to raise areas of concern with government or other policy makers
- to raise the profile of ovarian cancer within parliament
- to seek opportunities to help improve survival and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer
The APPG’s work - meeting summaries
- 2 March 2016. The first APPG meeting of 2016 focused on newly published Routes to Diagnosis data. Sharon Hodgson MP (chair), Steve McCabe MP, Fiona Mactaggart MP and Stuart Andrew MP attended, as well as women with ovarian cancer who packed out the seating area. Chris Carrigan, who set-up the National Cancer Intelligence Network, talked everyone through the new data, which shows that of those women diagnosed with ovarian cancer following an emergency presentation, less than half live for a year or more following diagnosis, compared to 80 per cent of those women diagnosed following a referral from their GP. Women are being diagnosed earlier than previously, with the number of women diagnosed following an emergency presentation now down to 26 per cent, compared to 31 per cent in 2006, but there is still a long way to go. Esther Matthews, described to the meeting her experience of being initially misdiagnosed, which meant that by the time she was finally diagnosed her cancer had reached stage IV. It was agreed that Sharon Hodgson MP will write a letter from the APPG to the Minister for Public Health asking for an update on whether we can expect to see a Be Clear on Cancer awareness campaign for ovarian cancer.
- 4 November 2015. Our first meeting in the new parliament looked at the vital issue of access to cancer drugs and how this differs across the UK. Sharon Hodgson MP chaired the meeting and we were also joined by Kirsty Blackman MP, Mark Durkan MP and Jim Shannon MP. Despite the chaos caused by a last minute time change (a packed select committee schedule is seeing lots of other meetings moved) the meeting was well attended, most importantly by a large number of women with ovarian cancer. The first part of the meeting heard about differences in the approval process for new drugs across the UK with speakers Annwen Jones, who is chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer and a member of the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) panel, Annie Mulholland who has ovarian cancer and lives in Wales and Ann Adair who also has a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and lives in Northern Ireland . This variation across the UK is particularly highlight by bevacizumab (Avastin) which is available (although under different criteria) in England (through the CDF) and Scotland (through the Scottish Medicines Consortium) but is not available to patients living in Wales and Northern Ireland. The second part of the meeting looked at the future of the CDF which is currently due to end in March 2016. Rachel Cashman, Head of Clinical and Scientific Policy and Strategy at NHS England, addressed the group on work currently being undertaken to look at how the successor to the CDF can be placed on a more sustainable footing. Rachel committed that there would continue to be a cancer specific fund post March, but said that it would be important for the new fund to have a managed entry and exit point, unlike the CDF at the moment.
- 10 June 2015. Following the general election we needed to hold the APPG AGM. This is a private meeting of just MPs and peers. In order for the APPG to re-register as an APPG (something all groups have to do each parliamentary session) we needed at least five MPs or peers to come to the AGM and four to agree to be officers. There was a brief moment where we were anxious we’d fall short, but in the end Sharon Hodgson MP, Kevin Brennan MP, Mark Durkan MP, Steve McCabe MP, Gordon Marsden MP and Nigel Evans MP were all able to attend. We held elections for group officers, with Sharon Hodgson MP continuing as chair, Lord Clement-Jones (nominated in his absence) continuing as Vice-Chair, and Andrew Stuart MP (also nominated in his absence) and Mark Durkan MP also both elected as Vice-Chairs. The meeting discussed the APPG’s work over the previous year. It also discussed plans for the coming year with the Group keen to look at issues around access to drugs and where lessons can be learned by comparing different awareness campaigns taking place across the UK. The Group’s first public meeting is due to take place in the autumn.
- 4 March 2015. The meeting covered the two important issues of new treatments and clinical trials, and genetic testing. In the first part of the meeting members of the APPG heard from Ros Glasspool, a Consultant Medical Oncologist, who talked about some of the challenges in organising clinical trials and what needs to change to address this. Dr Simon Newman from Target Ovarian Cancer then talked about access to clinical trials for women with ovarian cancer; this has improved over recent years but there are still worrying regional variations. In the second part of the meeting members had presentations from Katherine Taylor from Ovarian Cancer Action, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist Ranjit Manchanda, and Dr Simon Newman. Katherine talked about the need for BRCA testing for women with ovarian cancer. Ranjit presented to members on research he has undertaken funded by The Eve Appeal to look at the effectiveness of genetic screening among the Jewish population where there is a high chance of men and women having the BRCA mutation. Finally, Simon talked about the need to support women with ovarian cancer who receive genetic testing and the impact finding out they have the BRCA mutation can have.
- 3 December 2014. The meeting was called: Earlier Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer: What more needs to be done? The session featured four speakers including Sean Duffy, National Clinical Director for Cancer for NHS England who presented the interim findings of the Be Clear on Cancer ovarian cancer regional pilot (North West England); this was the second time the Mr Duffy has addressed the APPG. Also speaking was Professor Nigel Sparrow, Chair of Target Ovarian Cancer's GP Advisory Board who talked about the challenges and opportunities in primary care as well as the early results of Target Ovarian Cancer’s work on regional variation. Dr Jodie Moffat from Cancer Research UK talked about the economic benefits of improving early diagnosis and the meeting ended with a moving account of the personal impact of late diagnosis by Target Ovarian Cancer’s patient advocate Susan Handley.
- 1 July 2014. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ovarian Cancer held their Annual General Meeting on 1 July. Chaired by Sharon Hodgson MP, members conducted formal AGM business, reviewed progress over the past year and agreed a programme of activity for the year ahead. Sharon Hodgson MP was re-elected as Chair and Lord Clement-Jones, Tim Farron MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP were re-elected as Vice-Chairs. Members also elected Steve Brine MP as a Vice-Chair (Steve co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer). Russell Brown MP was re-elected as Treasurer. Read more about the key highlights of the past twelve months in our news story.
- 28 January 2014. This meeting was held jointly with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer focusing on the issues around familial breast and ovarian cancer. This joint meeting – the first of its kind – heard from Target Ovarian Cancer and Breakthrough Breast Cancer about the charities’ concerns that women with a higher risk of these cancers are not being identified and given access to the services they need to help them manage and reduce their risk.
- 30 October 2013. The group heard about the evaluation of the Be Clear on Cancer pilots for ovarian cancer, and the priorities of the new National Cancer Director, Sean Duffy. The group also discussed what action could be taken to help women in the devolved nations gain access to Avastin, the first drug to extend survival in women with advanced ovarian cancer, in a generation.
- 5 June 2013. The group discussed the drug Avastin, and the availability of it around the UK. Speakers included Dr Tim Perren, Consultant Oncologist who led the UK trials for Avastin, Dr Julian Cole from Roche Ltd who manufacture the drug, Lynn Hill who received access to Avastin through the Cancer Drugs Fund, Annie Mulholland from Wales recounting variability in access, Dr Manesh Gupta on protracted negotiations for access in the North West, Jenny Bogle who was not eligible for NHS funding, and Sarah Osborne from Cancer Research UK. Follow up actions have included correspondence with the APPG on Cancer, Lord Howe, and written questions to the Secretary of State for Health.
- 5 February 2013. The group discussed the future of the Be Clear on Cancer pilots, and the Medical Innovation Bill. Guest speakers included Public Health Minister Anna Soubry MP, and Lord Saatchi. Actions have included contact with Domain 1 Director for Reducing Mortality (NHS Commissioning Board) and Chief Executive of Public Health England.
- 30 October 2012: The group discussed ovarian cancer screening, and the forthcoming Be Clear on Cancer pilots for ovarian cancer. Speakers included Professor Usha Menon, Head of the Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre, University College London, Elizabeth Garret Anderson Institute of Women's Health, and Jennifer Benjamin, Early Diagnosis Lead, Cancer Policy Team, DH. Actions included inviting new Minister to attend next meeting
- 11 July 2012: Annual General Meeting.
- 10 May 2012: The group discussed access to drugs. The speakers were Professor Jonathan Ledermann, Professor of Medical Oncology in University College London's Cancer Institute, and Sarah Woolnough, Director of Policy at Cancer Research UK. The group raised concerns over the supply of the drug Caelyx® for women with advanced ovarian cancer and have written to the European Medicines Agency.
- 7 February 2012: The group discussed the challenges and opportunities in ovarian cancer research. Speakers were Mr Andy Nordin, Surgeon and Chair of the NCIN Gynaecological Clinical Reference Group and advisor to NCAT/DH, and Professor Iain McNeish, Oncologist at Barts and the London, and Chair of the Ovarian Subgroup of the NCRI Gynae Cancer Clinical Studies Group. Actions from the meeting included writing to Chief Executive of Astra Zeneca, and to the Director of NHS Screening Programmes.
- January 25 2011: The focus for this meeting was primary care and ovarian cancer. Speakers included Professor Willie Hamilton, GP, ovarian cancer symptoms researcher, and member of the Cancer Diagnostics Advisory Board, and Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP and member of the Health Select Committee.
- February 2 2011: This was a joint meeting of all the All Party Groups that are about cancer, with a question and answer session with Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP. Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the APPG on ovarian cancer, asked why ovarian cancer had been excluded from the forthcoming national awareness campaigns.
- May 17 2011: The subject for this meeting was NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) and the new Quality Standards.
- July 12 2011: Annual General Meeting elected officers and discussed actions to improve awareness for the forthcoming year.
- October 12 2011: Stuart Andrew MP successfully secured a Westminster Hall debate during which 14 MPs spoke about the urgent need for action on improving awareness. For more details including a transcript of the debate click here. This resulted in a meeting between a delegation of APPG members and the Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP.
- November 1 2011: The group heard about the impact of regional bowel cancer awareness campaigns and the plan to roll this work out nationally. They also assessed what actions they wanted to take in the light of the debate in Westminster Hall.
- November 29 2011: A delegated group of APPG members met with Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP to further discuss some of the points raised during the Westminster Hall Debate.
- June 29 2010: The Six Simple Steps campaign was launched in Parliament at our Annual Parliamentary Reception, hosted by Sharon Hodgson MP. Enough support was received from MPs and Lords for Sharon to set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer.
- October 27 2010: At the first meeting, the group heard and discussed issues around ovarian cancer with National Cancer Director, Professor Mike Richards. There was a particular focus on the current health reforms and how they might impact on women who have the disease.