Cancer Research UK has set out how the next UK Government could dramatically improve cancer outcomes and prevent 20,000 cancer deaths a year by 2040. The charity has published ‘Longer better lives: A manifesto for cancer research and care’ an ambitious cancer plan developed with the insights of cancer patients and experts from across health, life sciences, government and academic sectors.
“Cancer is the defining health issue of our time,” says Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK. Avoiding thousands of cancer deaths is possible, but it will take leadership, political will, investment and reform. The Manifesto for Cancer Research and Care is our comprehensive plan to ensure more people can live their lives free from the fear of cancer. We urge all political leaders to unite behind this vital mission.”
The charity says that huge strides have been made in beating cancer – with survival in the UK doubling over the last 50 years. But it warned that with NHS cancer services in crisis and around half a million new cancer cases each year expected by 2040 – this hard-won progress is at risk of stalling.
With the UK lagging behind comparable countries when it comes to cancer survival, the charity is calling on all political parties to make cancer a top priority in their party manifestos. The manifesto asks whoever gains office to commit to developing a 10-year cancer plan, the charity says in its manifesto. Urgent action is also required to address the more than £1 billion funding gap for research into cancer over the next decade. If it’s not dealt with, this shortfall will put hard-won medical advances at risk.
To tackle these complex challenges head on, the charity recommends a nation-wide movement on cancer, spearheaded by a new National Cancer Council, which brings government, the life sciences sector, charities and scientific experts together. This will coordinate those responsible for research, innovation, NHS services and public health from across government, accelerating research, the adoption of innovation and reducing inequalities for everyone affected by cancer.
The manifesto also calls for:
- The transformation of cancer screening programmes and accelerating the roll-out of the lung cancer screening programme in England.
- The variation in treatment across different geographical areas to be addressed, reducing inequalities in early diagnosis in England through targeted action plans.
- A 10-year cancer-specific workforce plan to address the chronic staff shortages in cancer services. The UK Government should eliminate the £10.2 billion NHS maintenance deficit by 2030 and commit to rolling ringfenced capital investment for cancer.
See the full manifesto at https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/we-develop-policy/manifesto-for-cancer-research-and-care.