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20,000 annual UK cancer deaths avoidable by 2040, says Cancer Research UK

Published: 28th November 2023
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Investment in research and innovation could see 20,000 cancer deaths a year avoided in the UK, says Cancer Research UK.

In a manifesto launched by the charity, a list of cancer priorities has been shared, ahead of the general election. It says, whoever gains office should commit to developing a 10-year cancer plan, spearheaded by a National Cancer Council, which brings government, the life sciences sector, charities, and scientific experts together.

On average, someone is diagnosed with cancer in the UK every 90 seconds. By 2024, there is expected to be around half a million new cancer cases. The charity shares that it is essential for all political parties to make cancer a top priority in their party manifesto.

Many cancer deaths could be preventable and others treatable, with the right approach, says Cancer Research UK.

To dramatically improve cancer outcomes, the manifesto sets out key areas to focus:

  • Earlier diagnosis, through screening
  • Investment in research
  • Disease prevention – supporting measures to achieve a Smokefree England by 2030
  • Improved tests and treatments – investing in staff and reducing NHS waiting lists

Early diagnosis

Diagnosing cancer at the earliest stage means that treatment is more likely to be successful.

Lung and bowel cancer remain two of the UK’s biggest causes of cancer mortality. The manifesto calls for accelerated roll-out of the lung cancer screening programme in England, to address variation in treatment across different geographical areas and reduce inequalities.

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “Cancer is the defining health issue of our time”.

“Avoiding thousands of cancer deaths is possible, but it will take leadership, political will, investment and reform”.

“The impact of cancer is immense. We estimate that half a million people – friends, colleagues and loved ones – will be diagnosed with the disease every year by 2040. Their lives are at stake if we don’t act now.”

“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.”

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