GUEST COLUMN: Bowel cancer test could save your life, by Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero

MP Gloria De Piero
MP Gloria De Piero

Helping to resolve the little and sometimes not-so-little problems that affect constituent’s everyday lives is one of the most satisfying aspects of my job.

A good example concerns the recent case of an intrusive street light on a Sutton street. A lady contacted me after Nottinghamshire County Council installed a new lamppost and LED light on a footpath outside her bungalow, which unfortunately completely lit up her bedroom. A shield was fitted but this did not solve the problem so she phoned them again to ask for a larger shield to be fitted. This time the council did not act very swiftly so the lady asked me to intervene. I am pleased to say that after making enquiries on her behalf, the council has now fitted a larger shield and the problem has been resolved.

Bowel Cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, with 16,200 people dying of the disease every year. This month is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and I am backing Bowel Cancer UK’s calls for everyone over 60 to take their screening test when it arrives in the post.

In the Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group area, just under 60 per cent of people do the screening test, slightly above the England average. However that means 40 per cent do not do the test and so their bowel cancer could be going undetected in the early stages, when having treatment would give the best chance of survival. So if the test comes through your door, don’t be put off doing it – it could save your life.

We here in Ashfield already know what it feels like when the entire industry that your hometown is built on is shut down. That is why it is so distressing to see what is happening to the British steel industry. Communities will be devastated if the Tata Steel sites in Port Talbot, Scunthorpe and elsewhere are closed down. Such secure well-paid jobs like those in the steel or coal industry are rarely replaced with like-for-like employment opportunities.

The Tory government’s handling of the situation has been shambolic: it has not taken the action necessary to protect the steel industry and needs to act quickly. I want to see a buyer for the Tata sites found, for the industry to be restructured to ensure it has a future and for big development projects that can use British steel to be fast-tracked so that work is created. Only then will the jobs and communities survive and the economy prosper.