Kate has spoken in parliament on behalf of cancer patients who are facing difficulties with dental treatment.
Earlier this month, Kate met her constituent, Michele Solak Edwards, from Flixton, who told Kate about her experience of trying to get dental treatment while undergoing chemotherapy following a breast cancer diagnosis.
Michele told Kate that although radiotherapy and chemotherapy cause damage to patients’ teeth, cancer patients aren’t routinely advised to undergo regular dental checks.
Although cancer patients receive free prescriptions on the NHS, this doesn’t include dental work.
Michele spoke to others with the same diagnosis and found that hundreds of women were in a similar position with some forced to pay thousands of pounds for dental work following cancer treatment.
Many dentists are closed to NHS patients so private dental work can be costly and can place serious financial strain on cancer patients, especially if they’ve have had to take time off work while they undergo treatment.
After her experience, Michele decided that things needed to change and set up a petition calling on the government to introduce free dental care for cancer patients for five years after diagnosis and beyond if treatment is ongoing.
The petition, which can be viewed on change.org, already has more than 125,000 signatures and has featured on national and local news.
Kate asked the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, if ministers would meet her to discuss the matter further.
Kate said, “Having undergone the shock and stress of diagnosis and the gruelling effects of treatment, the last thing cancer patients need to be worrying about is paying for dental treatment.
“I look forward to meeting the Minister and discussing an issue which, from the response to Michele’s petition, is vital for cancer patients both here in Manchester and across the country.”
Michele Solak Edwards said, “I am very grateful that Kate has taken the campaign to Parliament as dental concerns are often separated out from cancer treatments and completely overlooked.
“I would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Department for Health and Social Care to express the need for reform and to discuss the way forward.”