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Jeremy Hunt reveals he has had cancer and will be running Race For Life

Jeremy Hunt and Angela Richardson will take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life (Cancer Research UK/PA)
Jeremy Hunt and Angela Richardson will take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life (Cancer Research UK/PA)

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed that he had cancer and has since recovered.

The Conservative MP said he will be taking part in a 5km race to raise money for cancer charities after the disease affected some of his relatives “very dramatically” and he suffered a “minor one” himself.

Mr Hunt will be switching his blue party colour for pink to represent Cancer Research UK in the charity’s Race for Life this summer.

The South West Surrey MP will be among thousands running in Stoke Park, Guildford, on July 24.

Mr Hunt, currently Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, said: “Every member of my family has had cancer.

“I have had a minor one myself which has fortunately been resolved.

“So it’s touched my family very dramatically and I know it has touched many many families.

“My work on the Select Committee has shown me there are lot of things we can do to improve our cancer survival rates.

“They are getting better but the more we can do to raise money and raise awareness, the more lives we’ll save.”

The 55-year-old MP will be running with cancer survivor Rod Pluthero, 73, and fellow Tory MP Angela Richardson, 47.

The two MPs are also supporting a campaign to establish a cancer and surgical innovation centre at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford.

Jeremy Hunt and Angela Richardson
Jeremy Hunt and Angela Richardson will take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life this summer (Cancer Research UK/PA)

Ms Richardson, who represents Guildford, said: “There will be few of us who have been untouched by cancer – with one in two people now developing it at some stage of our lives, research into successful treatments and prevention of the disease is an overwhelming health priority.

“Jeremy has been an advocate and champion of cancer research, advanced treatments and better patient experiences for many years.

“It’s my pleasure to be able to join him at the Race for Life and for us to be taking forward this campaign together to allow the best possible outcomes for cancer patients in the future.”

Mr Pluthero, from Haslemere, Surrey, had successful treatment for tongue cancer in 2016 and in 2018, but in 2020 he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his lower right jaw.

He underwent a 10-and-a-half hour operation where surgeons replaced part of his jaw with bone from his fibula, saving his life.

Mr Pluthero said: “We are all passionate about improving life for cancer patients from the moment they are diagnosed, right through any treatment they may need.

“We want to improve every aspect of that, developing better and kinder treatments and achieving better outcomes.

Cancer Research UK Race For Life – London
Women set off during Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life (Carl Court/PA)

“By taking part in Race for Life, people are funding research into life-saving discoveries, less harsh treatments and ways to educate people about lifestyle choices.

“And they are also helping to keep loved ones together for longer, see people reach milestone birthdays and bring forward the day when all 200 types of cancer are cured.”

Half of people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime, according to Cancer Research UK.

Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is a nationwide series of 3km, 5km, 10km races, along with kids events, which raise millions of pounds every year.

Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in the South East, said the group was looking forward to welcoming runners and walkers of all ages and abilities.

She said: “Race for Life Guildford will be fun, emotional, colourful, uplifting and an unforgettable event this year.”

Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Health Campaigns at Tesco, added: “This will be our 21st year in partnership with Cancer Research UK and Race for Life and we hope this year can be the biggest yet.”