Derek Thomas visits the Royal Marsden Hospital to learn about pioneering new melanoma treatments.

Member of Parliament for West Cornwall, Derek Thomas, has joined the UK’s leading national melanoma charity,Melanoma UK on a visit to the Royal Marsden hospital in London, to learn about the latest developments in melanoma treatment and care.

The visit gave MPs the chance to hear from clinical experts, such as Dr James Larkin, working at the forefront of research into the treatment of melanoma.They were also joined by Dr Nicholas van As, the new Medical Director of the Royal Marsden. MPs were also given a tour of the clinic to see the treatment of skin cancer patients first hand.

MPs heard about how melanoma patients have traditionally had very poor outcomes, with very few treatment options available. However, in recent years a number of new medicines have become available, including a new type of treatment called immuno-therapy, which works with the body’s immune system to target the cancer. MPs were shown how these treatments are improving patient survival, but also how future treatments, some of which are being trialled at the Royal Marsden, have the potential to further improve patient outcomes.

Following the visit Derek Thomas MP commented:

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to join Melanoma UK on this visit to the Royal Marsden, to hear about and see first-hand the pioneering work they are doing treating patients diagnosed with melanoma. Given that the St Ives Constituency is within the local authority area with the highest melanoma rate in the England, it was welcome to see how far the treatment of the disease has come over the past five years, as well as the potential benefits of new treatments that are set to become available in the future.”

Founder and Key Worker of Melanoma UK Gill Nuttall commented:

“Traditionally melanoma patients have had a lack of treatment options available to them and as a result have had very poor outcomes. Developments in recent years have led to improved patient survival and it is vital that new and innovative treatments, such as those the MPs heard about on their visit, are always made available as quickly as possible."

Derek Thomas
Member of Parliament for St Ives


  • Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and is fatal if undetected and untreated. Patients with metastatic melanoma have traditionally had very poor outcomes with one year survival rates at just 10% for men and 35% for women during 2006-2010.
  • The incidence of melanoma in the UK has risen sharply. Incidence reported in the period 2011-2013 was 34,771. The rise in melanoma is faster than any of the other ten most common tumour types.
  • From 2011 to 2013, there were 5,613 deaths from malignant melanoma in England.
  • Rates of newly diagnosed malignant melanoma skin cancer in England were highest in the South West and South East regions of England during 2003-2013 but high incidence and mortality areas were reported in Leeds, Cheshire, Liverpool and Durham.
  • The Local Authority of Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly, which covers the parliamentary constituency of St Ives has the highest rates of melanoma incidence in England.


The Royal Marsden hospital
The Royal Marsden hospital opened its doors in 1851 as the world’s first hospital dedicated to cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and education.
 The Royal Marsden is the largest cancer centre in Europe, treating over 50,000 NHS and private patients every year. It is a centre of excellence with an international reputation for ground breaking research and pioneering the very latest in cancer treatments and technologies, as well as specialising in cancer diagnosis and education.
More information on Melanoma UK can be found at:
More information on the Royal Marsden hospital can be found at: