Longer, better lives: A manifesto for cancer research and care

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Our manifesto sets out the measures and commitments the next government can make to help prevent 20,000 cancer deaths every year by 2040.

Are you a politician, political adviser, health leader or supporter?

Download the manifesto

Are you a civil servant, policymaker or health expert?

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We believe this is a realistic ambition. Now is the time to act and build on the success of previous decades where we’ve seen a doubling of cancer survival in the last 50 years. Now is the time to go further and faster.
 
      Michelle Mitchell OBE, Chief Executive
 
 

1.  We’ve made huge progress on cancer in the past 50 years

scientists in lab

In the 1970s, only 1 in 4 people survived their cancer for 10 years or more. Now, twice as many survive.

Since the mid-1980s, over a million lives have been saved.

This is all thanks to the power of research, improvements in healthcare and the tireless efforts of NHS staff. 

2. But cancer is still the defining health issue of our time

family at home

Cancer affects people in every family and every constituency. Nearly 1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetimes* 

We lag behind other comparable countries. A decade ago, England and Denmark were improving cancer outcomes at broadly the same rate. But now, with consistent funding and long-term strategies, Denmark have raced ahead.

(*Cancer Research UK, Lifetime risk of cancer. Available at: cruk.org/lifetimerisk)

3. The challenge is only growing

man looking thoughtful

As our population grows and ages, the number of new cancer cases increases. By 2040, the number of new cases is projected to increase by around a quarter. That means around half a million new cases diagnosed each year. 

Cancer does not affect people equally – more than 33,000 cases each year across the UK are attributable to deprivation.

 

4. But so is the opportunity

man using VR

We’re in a golden age for cancer research. New tools and technology mean we can do things in hours that used to take years, putting us on the brink of making huge leaps in how we prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Right now, the UK is a global leader in cancer research. 74% of people agree that the UK Government should increase its investment into cancer research and development.   

Improvements in cancer research and care would: 

    • reduce health, social care and ‘informal’ care costs (care provided by family and carers)
    • contribute to treating other health conditions
    • have a positive impact on workforce productivity and quality of life

5. We can, and must, do better for people affected by cancer

man skipping

We've succeeded before and we can succeed again.

With political will and leadership, we can all have more moments with the people we love.

6. Our aim is simple: longer, better lives

charity shop workers

Our vision is a national commitment to reduce the cancer mortality rate by 15% by 2040 – preventing 20,000 cancer deaths every year.

Our manifesto and accompanying programme for the UK Government set out the immediate measures and long-term commitments an incoming Government can make to elevate UK cancer survival to amongst the best in the world.

Download the manifesto

7. Our five missions

    We’re setting out the following missions to help us achieve our aim of longer, better lives.

     

    Mission 1

    Rebuild the UK’s global position in biomedical research.

    We want the UK Government to pledge to back research: Set out a plan to close the more than £1bn funding gap for research into cancer over the next decade.

     

    Mission 2

    Prevent more cancers than ever before.

    We want the UK Government to pledge to end cancers caused by smoking: Raise the age of sale of tobacco and fund a world-leading programme of measures to help people who smoke to quit.

     

    Mission 3

    Diagnose more cancers early.

    We want the UK Government to pledge to drive earlier diagnoses: Implement proven measures, including a lung screening programme, to diagnose cancers early and reduce inequalities in access.

     

    Mission 4

    Bring innovation to patients more quickly and reduce inequalities.

    We want the UK Government to end the waits: Ensure cancer wait time targets are met across England.

     

    Mission 5

    Build a national movement to beat cancer, sooner.

    We want the UK Government to lead on cancer: Publish a long-term cancer strategy for England and establish a National Cancer Council, accountable to the prime minister, to drive cross-government action on cancer.

     

    Read more about the missions

    8. The time to act is now!

    The public wants action: almost 8 in 10 people in England think the government needs to develop a long-term and fully funded plan specifically for cancer.

     

    Ahead of the general election, the next government must commit to change. 

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