A BREAST CANCER survivor from north Kingston has joined forces with MP Susan Kramer to ensure all women with symptoms of the disease are seen by a specialist within two weeks.
Jane Stephenson, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993.
"Luckily the lump was quite high on my breastbone so I found it myself, very early," she said. "I had a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiotherapy and I've been fine since, but I've continued campaigning because it's frightening just how many women are getting cancer.
"My mother's recently been diagnosed and I know so many people who have undergone treatment.
"There is such a difference in the treatment people receive and how long they have to wait to be seen by a specialist that I felt I had to do what I could to help."
Jane met Mrs Kramer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer's annual lobbying event at Westminster last week.
"I think someone who's had cancer, together with an MP, is probably the best campaign force you can get," she said. "She was very understanding and interested.
"Waiting for a breast cancer diagnosis, whatever the outcome, can be extremely distressing and, while it is great news that nearly all women referred as urgent by their GP to a breast specialist are seen within two weeks, women who are referred as routine can wait much longer.
"The Government's deadline is drawing closer, so as well as finding out from my local breast unit what steps they are taking to make the two-week wait for all a reality by January 1, I'm also taking this opportunity to ask Susan Kramer to write to the Secretary of State for Health and ask that the non-urgent waiting times for breast cancer patients are published.
"Only then can we be reassured that the Government will fulfil its commitment on time."
Susan said she had written to Kingston Hospital's chief executive and to Health Secretary Andy Burnham, to ask what progress is being made.
"I'm aware that it is a crucial but demanding target, so I want to ensure it is met but also that adequate support is in place to help hospitals meet it," she said.
A spokesman for Kingston Hospital NHS Trust said it welcomed the campaign.
He added: "The Trust has been working hard, since the new cancer targets were announced, to deliver early access for our cancer patients to specialist treatment in 2010 and is confident that it will meet them."