Labour MP Dawn Butler announces breast cancer diagnosis

Labour MP Dawn Butler

Dawn Butler MP has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Labour MP, who served as shadow women and equalities secretary from 2017 until 2020, announced her cancer diagnosis on Monday (28 March).

She said that she expects to make a full recovery, but will be taking time off work.

“Back in early November, I attended a routine mammogram and a few weeks later the hospital informed me that they had identified breast cancer cells at a very early stage,” Dawn Butler said in a statement.

“Of course, everything stood still as it does when you hear the dreaded C-word – it is a shock but an early diagnosis means that it is something that I will get through and over. The NHS has caught my cancer early, the operation was a complete success, and I will make a full recovery.

“However, I now have to take time off work for my recovery. Everyone who knows me knows that I am a workaholic and I love what I do – but unless I listen to medical advice and recover well, I will not be able to give my best.”

Dawn Butler told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire that she underwent surgery to remove the cancer.

The MP’s mother and sister have both survived breast cancer, and she is now urging others to attend mammograms as soon as they are invited.

“There’ll be women who will die if their breast cancer is not discovered, and needlessly so,” she told the BBC.

In her statement, Butler thanked the NHS staff who treated her.

“I have seen first-hand how the NHS is under enormous pressure,” she wrote.

“The Royal London seemed full, people were waiting on chairs in A&E for beds, the staff were exhausted in the NHS and many were suffering from PTSD.

“If we are to show our appreciation for the amazing NHS workers and rebuild our health service then we need to properly invest in the NHS, both structurally and in the very people who keep it functioning.”

The NHS invites women between the ages of 50 and 70 for breast cancer screenings, as well as eligible trans and non-binary people in the same age bracket.

According to Cancer Research, this includes some trans men and non-binary people, and some trans women who have received hormone replacement therapy.