RICHMONDSHIRE MP Rishi Sunak is to press local health chiefs to improve their treatment of secondary breast cancer.

Secondary breast cancer is an incurable – but treatable – form of the disease suffered by patients whose primary breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Stokesley resident Laura Ashurst met Mr Sunak at the House of Commons to enlist his support for a campaign to improve treatment for sufferers.

Mrs Ashurst was treated for primary breast cancer 19-years-ago and now lives with the secondary form of the disease.

The mother-of-two told the Richmond MP how helping people live well with a form of cancer that could not be cured was the aim of a campaign launched by the charity Breast Cancer Now.

Mrs Ashurst was with charity representatives when they handed a petition that called for improved treatment to Cancer Minister Jo Churchill.

The campaigners are seeking quicker diagnosis of the illness, faster access to the available treatments and more cancer nurse specialists.

Mr Sunak said: “I have always been tremendously impressed by Laura’s inspiring commitment to this cause and her willingness to share her story to help others coping with this terrible condition.

“I will write to the South Tees NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust in support of the campaign to get the best possible treatment for all secondary breast cancer sufferers.

“I particularly want to know how the Trust is progressing with the recruitment of Cancer Nurse Specialists who are very important in improving patients’ quality of life.”

Also known as metastatic, advanced or stage four cancer, 35,000 women are living with secondary breast cancer in the UK.

Almost 11,500 women die from breast cancer every year, almost all from the secondary form of the disease.

Once the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the patient cannot be cured.

But the cancer can be treated so the patient can live longer and live well.