A visit to Westminster is pretty special – whatever your political hue. And there was quite a crowd of us at the annual Macmillan Parliamentary question time.

As soon as the chair Jonathan Dimbleby arrived, we were off! He welcomed us and introduced the panel:

- Labour MP Diane Abbott

- Conservative MP John Baron

- LibDem MP Paul Burstow

- Conservative MP Andrew Jones

- Ciaran Devane, Macmillan’s chief executive.

    Jonathan Dimbleby did an excellent job of keeping the panel on track and pressing them when he thought they could be more forthcoming. And he made sure to involve as many of the audience as possible. It was our chance to tell the politicians about our many experiences of cancer, and how we would like things to be in future.

    There isn’t the space here to do justice to all the views expressed. And the discussion covered a range of topics, including:

      -early diagnosis

      -support for carers

      -the impact of the Francis report

      -support for people after treatment finishes.

      I got to ask the panel about Macmillan’s campaign on the Care Bill.

      You can read tweets from the day here.

      The questions that really got the audience talking were around cancer and the workplace, and standards of care in the NHS.

      Work and cancer

      With so many of us returning to work, attempting to return to work or negotiating our way through the benefits system, this is a topic that will become more critical to people affected by cancer.

      Macmillan offer information and support about cancer and the workplace, but it was clear from views and comments expressed by the audience that there are wide discrepancies in how people are treated.

      Cancer care in the NHS

      The discussion about standards of care ranged over compassion, how nurses are trained, the need for more diversity in Macmillan nurses, the impact of the cuts, personal experiences, self-help groups and so many more topics. I was fortunate enough to receive excellent care and it’s a shame that my experience seems to have been so atypical.

      So many people wanted to share their views that I think we’d have been there all afternoon and I can’t have been the only one who was keen to continue the discussions! I’d be keen to hear your views on work and cancer and the other topics covered on the day.

      It was a great day and I really enjoyed the opportunity to hear from so many people whose lives have been affected by cancer. I don’t think we’re likely to be quiet, and we need to continue making sure politicians hear what we’ve got to say.  

      Get involved

      If, like me, you want to help Macmillan demand better outcomes for people affected by cancer, you can sign up to be an e-campaigner and keep up-to-date with Macmillan’s campaigns on the campaigns blog.