Dear friend,

I am not sure whether you will have heard, but I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Although the cancer is at an early stage and breast cancer survival rates are amongst the highest, I know that the year ahead will not be easy.

The level of support I have received from friends, family, well-wishers and charitable organisations has been phenomenal and I am truly grateful.

Last week I began chemotherapy. Each individual responds differently to the treatment; I cannot be sure as yet what kind of impact it may have or what level of activity I will be capable of. However, I have recently employed a full team of staff for my parliamentary and constituency offices and I know that my constituents will be in capable hands for whatever assistance they may need.

I want to emphasise that I picked up the signs of this disease because of public health awareness campaigns and I strongly encourage everyone to learn the early warning signs for cancer. In particular I’ve learnt how important it is for women to check their breasts regularly. Below you can find a video of me on a recent edition of Points West discussing my diagnosis.

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