Prime minister urged to improve training to spot childhood cancers following death of Sophie Fairall from Stubbington

A GOSPORT politician has called on the prime minister for more GP training to spot the signs of childhood cancer following the ‘heart-breaking’ death of beloved Sophie Fairall from Stubbington.

By Fiona Callingham
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 2:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 2:26 pm

MP Caroline Dinenage pressed Boris Johnson for changes to be be made, inspired by 10-year-old Sophie from who died in September a year after her rhabdomyosarcoma diagnosis.

Speaking in the House of Commons today (February 2), Ms Dinenage said: ‘Childhood cancer is often described as “rare” yet cancer is the biggest killer in children under 14.

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Heartbreak as brave Sophie Fairall, 10, loses cancer battle and dies surrounded ...
Pictured: Sophie Fairall

‘Sophie’s GP failed to diagnose her cancer. It was only when they went to A&E that they discovered the tumour in her little body that was 12cm long. On World Cancer Day on Friday, I would like to ask the prime minister to please advocate for more and better training for general practice to identify cancer in children?’

In response Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m very sorry to hear of Sophie’s case and my thoughts are with her, her family and her friends.

‘She is right that research is crucial in tackling childhood cancers that’s why we’re investing in more research, but it is also vital that we do tests, scans and diagnostic screenings early enough.

‘That’s why it’s also important that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has not only updated its guidance on childhood cancers in February 2021 but we are investing in 100 new diagnostic centres in community hubs.’

As reported, brave Sophie spent her last year completing her ‘bucket list’ – which included working a day at a shop and cooking with Gordon Ramsay.

She also launched a spirited fundraising campaign in aid of children’s cancer charity Alice’s Ark, which has so far raised more than £83,000.

Her mum Charlotte Fairall added: ‘Much more needs to be done for childhood cancer, including more awareness of the signs and symptoms for the general public and health professionals. More children are diagnosed through A&E than by referral and childhood cancer isn’t as rare as we think with 1 in 450 children diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK.

‘GPs and nurses need to be considering cancer as a possibility when treating children or young people alongside more investment into research as childhood cancer is the number one killer of children by disease in the UK. Children like Sophie need to be given a voice and changes made. They deserve so much more.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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