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International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership

The International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) is a unique and innovative global partnership of clinicians, academics and policymakers. It is the first of its kind, seeking to understand how and why cancer survival varies between countries/jurisdictions.

The partnership aims to generate insight and understanding that will help all partners improve cancer survival outcomes by optimising cancer policies and services. These insights are also likely to be relevant to other nations.  

If you are a GP in England who has come to view Patient Study Documents, you can access these on the Module 4 page



The fifth edition of the ICBP newsletter is now available. The newsletter is designed to provide in-depth information about the partnership and the ongoing research. You can find the latest version on our new publications page

We have created the publications page to provide an easy overview of available ICBP publications. These include:

  • Summaries and access to Scientific publications
  • Newsletters
  • Reports
  • Presentations


What is the ICBP?


The ICBP is a truly international initiative, involving 12 jurisdictions in 6 countries across 3 continents:

  • Australia (New South Wales and Victoria)
  • Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario)
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland)

The partner jurisdictions all have comparable wealth, a universal access to health care and longstanding, high-quality, population-based cancer registration.

Cancer types studied

The ICBP work programme is looking specifically at four cancers:

  • Breast
  • Colorectal
  • Lung
  • Ovarian

Breast, colorectal and lung cancer are common cancers that contribute a large share of the burden of cancer disease in developed countries. There are also significant differences between countries in survival from these cancers. 

Ovarian cancer is a less common cancer with a complex diagnostic pathway and large variations in survival across countries.

Areas of research

The ICBP works across 5 areas of research (modules). Each module looks at different aspects of cancer survival to identify possible reasons for differences between partners. 

  • Module 1: Epidemiology
  • Module 2: Population awareness and beliefs
  • Module 3: Beliefs, behaviours and systems in primary care
  • Module 4: Root cause of diagnosis and treatment delays
  • Module 5: Treatment, co-morbidities and other factors

Background to the partnership

Where did it all begin

Previous studies have shown that UK nations often have poorer cancer survival outcomes than comparable countries. To understand how and why survival rates vary, Professor Sir Mike Richards, in his former role of the National Cancer Director for England, led the formation of the ICBP in 2009.

Comparing cancer services, processes and the public’s interaction with these across different countries can help us identify possible reasons for the observed differences. And by understanding critical differences and similarities between UK nations and those countries with better survival rates, we should be able to build a picture of where improvements could be made.

Partners were invited to join the ICBP based on three key criteria:

  • Offering a universal access to health care for their populations
  • Having high-quality and long-standing population-based cancer registration
  • Having a broadly comparable wealth

Meeting all three factors is very important as it limits the variables that can affect cancer outcomes. It therefore allows more meaningful comparisons. 12 jurisdictions (see Background section earlier) now form part of the ICBP.

ICBP governance

An international steering group is overseeing the ICBP body of research. The group contains at least one key decision maker from each jurisdiction. It is chaired by Professor Sir Mike Richards. 

Mike Richards (Chair) England Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Care Quality Commission
David Currow Australia - New South Wales Chief Cancer Officer and CEO, Cancer Institute New South Wales
Todd Harper Australia - Victoria CEO, Cancer Council Victoria
Bob Thomas Australia - Victoria Chief Clinical Advisor for Cancer, Department of Health, Victoria,
Heather Bryant Canada Vice President, Cancer Control, Canadian Partnership against Cancer
Michael Sherar Canada - Ontario President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario
Søren Brostrøm Denmark Head of Department, Services and Emergency Management, Danish National Board of Health
Anna Gavin Northern Ireland Director, Northern Ireland Cancer Registry
Stein Kaasa Norway National Cancer Director, Directorate for Health
Gunilla Gunnarsson Sweden Coordinator Cancer Strategy, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions
Jane Hanson Wales Lead advisor for Cancer, Welsh Assembly Government and Director, Cancer Services Co-ordinating Group, Wales Cancer Institute
Dhali Dhaliwal Canada - Manitoba President and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba
Aileen Keel Scotland Deputy Chief Medical Officer, The Scottish Government


Programme Management 

Cancer Research UK provides the programme management services and support for all the modules.

Programme Funding

Module 1 was completely funded by the Department of Health (England) and the National Cancer Action Team (NCAT). This funding was a direct result of the English Cancer Reform Strategy commitments.
Modules 2-5 are funded in a collaborative model, with each participating jurisdiction contributing a proportion of the costs.

Contact us

Keep in touch

If you have any views or comments about the partnership, we would like to hear from you. Email us on 

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Updated: 8 October 2013