On 30 June 2019, local Member of Parliament, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, supported the work of the Friends of the New Breast Care Unit for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) by taking part in the “Turn it Pink” sponsored run at Parc Penallta.

As a Patron of the Friends of the New Breast Cancer Care Unit, Mr. Thomas-Symonds joined the fundraising effort which is seeking to improve the service to patients with all breast conditions, by building a “Centre of Excellence” at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr.

At present the ABUHB breast care units are the busiest in Wales, seeing over 5,000 patients a year with around 500 cancers being diagnosed each year: one in eight men and women will be affected. The new ABUHB unit is due for completion by early 2021, and will provide facilities for dedicated diagnostic, treatment and counselling rooms, designed to enable faster diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care.

Mr. Thomas-Symonds has lent his support to the campaign and has been an active campaigner on cancer-related issues since his election in 2015. His work in 2016 improved access to repurposed drugs when Mr. Thomas-Symonds worked across parties in Parliament to amend the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovations) Bill utilising provisions of his own Private Members Bill which had been talked out only months earlier, to widen the use of repurposed drugs across the UK.

Subsequently, the Welsh Government has announced that bisphosphonates, primarily used for osteoporosis, repurposed to prevent primary breast cancer to spreading to the bone in many patients, became available at the Velindre Cancer Centre from April 2018.

When asked about the campaign, Mr. Thomas-Symonds, said:

“I lost my grandmother, Olwyn Thomas, to breast cancer just before my 18th birthday. My interest in politics stemmed from conversations with her. When I was first elected an MP in 2015 I was determined to make a difference for cancer patients.

“I’m honoured to be a Patron, and will be doing all I can to make the very best breast cancer facilities available for breast cancer patients, including my constituents in Torfaen, and the Turn It Pink run was a great way to raise funds and it was great to join the other runners to raise awareness and money.”

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