Page last updated at 20:10 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 21:10 UK

PM hails breast cancer progress

Singer Geri Halliwell and model Twiggy
Geri Halliwell and Twiggy were among the celebrities at Number 10

Celebrities have joined Gordon Brown in Downing Street to celebrate achievements in tackling breast cancer.

A reception was held at Number 10 as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Among those joining the prime minister were model Twiggy, broadcasters Fearne Cotton and Lorraine Kelly, singer Geri Halliwell and sports star Denise Lewis.

The event also involved women with breast cancer, researchers and charity workers. The PM paid tribute and said this generation could "beat cancer."

"I'm proud that so many people, who are doing so much, in so many different areas, from so many different parts of the country are here this evening. I want to pay tribute to what you do," he said.

"And I want to say that what you do are the steps that are being taken, right across the country, to do something that this generation alone can do - and that is to beat cancer in our time."

He said this was the year in which the government was working to speed up screening tests for people suspected of having cancer, enabling them to get treatment quicker.

Hairdressing help

His grandmother had died of the disease and his father was a very committed supporter of cancer charities, he said.

Mr Brown said that as a child he had promised to carry on donating to the same charities, and had done so.

Accompanied by his wife Sarah, he said they were committed supporters of cancer charities and were impressed by all the work done to beat the disease.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham is due to make an announcement on Friday, about a government grant for a charity run by celebrity hairdresser Trevor Sorbie, to help patients recovering from cancer treatment.

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