My mother, Jean, died of sarcoma cancer nine years ago. Yet if she were alive today, she would still face the same excruciating wait for a diagnosis.

Delays to diagnoses are costing lives and devastating families across the UK. This has to change. Shockingly, one in three (30%) sarcoma patients in the UK face an agonising wait of six-months or more for an accurate diagnosis of their cancer after first seeking medical help. One in six (17%) patients wait a year before being diagnosed.

This delay is unacceptable. Time is something those affected by sarcoma can ill afford. Sarcoma is one of the least understood but most aggressive forms of cancer and only 55% of patients survive more than five years. My mother fought the odds to survive for three years after being diagnosed and I count myself lucky to have had that time with her. Put simply, late diagnosis costs lives, which is why I’m supporting the calls for change detailed in a new report launched by national bone and soft tissue cancer charity Sarcoma UK. Poor awareness, coupled with a complex diagnostic pathway, mean sarcomas often go misdiagnosed or are simply ignored and dismissed. No one should ever find themselves in the position my mother and family did. People are needlessly losing their lives to this disease and will continue to do so if change doesn’t take place. The starting point for that begins here.

Delays Cost Lives: A call to policy makers to improve early diagnosis of sarcoma and more information about sarcoma, is available on the Sarcoma UK website.

Jess Phillips

MP for Birmingham and Yardley