This week Labour peer and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell will make a speech in the House of Lords calling for patients to be allowed to trial experimental and innovative cancer treatments, such as stem cell therapy.
When Baroness Jowell was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, the tumour glioblastoma, she imagined that the tumour would be removed and then life would go on. In reality, the Baroness has found that she is, “day by day affected by tumour and by the uncertainty of what my cancer is actually going to mean, for how long.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the 70-year-old peer said that she was travelling to Germany for pioneering treatment, and would like to see more patients helped to access a wider range of emerging treatments.
Jowell is expected to talk about the poor prognosis for those diagnosed with brain cancer, the need for more investment in research and the importance of increasing patient involvement in new types of clinical trial:
I hope this debate will help to raise awareness of the need for more research into effective treatments for brain tumours, as well as for the continuing development and improvement of cancer services generally in the UK.
Quoting the last words of Seamus Heaney, “I am not afraid”, Jowell said that they had touched her deeply and that she concurred:
I am not afraid. I feel very clear about my sense of purpose and what I want to do. How do I know how long it’s going to last? I’m certainly going to do everything I can to make it a very long time.