Cancer Research UK has unveiled a comprehensive manifesto, calling on the forthcoming UK Government to adopt strategies aimed at preventing 20,000 avoidable cancer deaths each year by 2040. This ambitious cancer plan has been developed with inputs from patients, health and life sciences experts, and representatives from government and academia, with the goal of establishing the UK as a leader in cancer survival by 2035.
The manifesto presents five key missions for the government to follow, aimed at drastically decreasing cancer fatalities in the UK.
Michelle Mitchell, CEO of Cancer Research UK, emphasized the critical nature of this issue, stating, “Cancer is the defining health issue of our time. With an estimated half a million people expected to be diagnosed annually by 2040, it’s crucial to act now to prevent these lives from being lost.”
Despite the doubling of cancer survival rates in the UK over the past 50 years, Cancer Research UK warns of potential setbacks. Disruptions in NHS cancer services and the looming prospect of a significant increase in cancer cases could impede further progress. The charity is advocating for a ten-year cancer plan and addressing over £1 billion in research funding gaps.
The manifesto’s five missions include:
Revitalising Biomedical Research: The manifesto calls for the UK to lead the G7 in research intensity, with increased government investment and an environment conducive to attracting global talent.
Preventing Cancer Incidence: A focus on reducing smoking-related cancers, including raising the age for tobacco sales and striving for a Smokefree England by 2030, which could prevent approximately 18,200 cancer cases by 2040.
Early Detection and Reducing Inequalities: Transforming cancer screening and accelerating lung cancer screenings, alongside efforts to reduce regional disparities in treatment and early diagnosis.
Expediting Access to Tests and Treatments: A 10-year plan to address workforce shortages and maintenance deficits in the NHS, ensuring timely access to essential tests and treatments.
Establishing a Unified Effort: Proposing a National Cancer Council for England, accountable to the Prime Minister, to coordinate actions across government sectors and improve research and care governance.
These missions represent a strategic approach to enhance cancer care in the UK, focusing on research, prevention, early detection, effective treatment access, and cohesive governance to substantially reduce cancer deaths.