Last year we spent nearly £4 million in institutes, hospitals and universities in Wales on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research. We work in partnership with Cardiff University, Cardiff and Vale Health Board and Velindre NHS Trust to support research in Wales into all aspects of cancer. Our research in Wales includes research into bowel, breast, urological and prostate cancers, as well as leukaemia.
In the UK, 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Every year around 19,500 people in Wales are diagnosed with cancer. Thanks to research, cancer survival in Wales is improving, with 58.5% of people surviving their cancer for five years or more. Yet there is still more to be done to accelerate progress so that 3 in 4 people survive their cancer by 2034.
Health is a devolved matter in Wales. This means that decisions about health policy in Wales are made by the Senedd Cymru / Welsh Parliament and the Welsh Government. We work with Welsh Government, Senedd Cymru and its 60 Members to keep cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care among Wales’ top public policy priorities.
Cancer Research UK works with Members of the Senedd (MSs), Welsh Government, health leaders and many in the Welsh third sector to campaign for better care and treatment for people affected by cancer.
Diagnosing people at the earliest stage of cancer is critical to giving patients the best chance of survival. Diagnosing more cancers earlier will rely, in part, on testing more people and addressing the gaps in the diagnostic workforce to meet current and future patient need.
Cancer Research UK welcomes Welsh Government’s commitment to making early diagnosis a priority. Current Welsh Government initiatives to support these goals include the Single Cancer Pathway and piloting rapid diagnostic clinics. However, these efforts are at risk of being undermined by serious gaps in the diagnostic workforce.
Cancer Research UK recommends that the Welsh Government should:
- Conduct an audit of Welsh diagnostic staff numbers
- Increase clinical training places in line with present and future patient need
- Consider innovative methods of training for endoscopy and cellular pathology
- Take a national approach to skills mix
Being overweight or obese is the single biggest risk factor for cancer after smoking in Wales and is linked to 13 types of cancer. In Wales, 59% of adults are overweight or obese. Wales has the highest rate of childhood obesity in Great Britain, with 27.1% of children aged 4-5 years old being overweight or obese. Cancer Research UK welcome the Welsh Government’s plan to prevent and reduce obesity rates in wales.
We are calling for:
- Actions to restrict price promotion on foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) and;
- Planning guidelines to regulate and restrict the availability of hot food takeaways near schools to be implemented as a priority.
Research is vital in finding new ways to understand, diagnose and treat cancer. Wales has the potential to deliver high quality medical research due to its population size and geography; the centralised structure of its health system; and the high quality of Wales’ university research. Despite this, lack of strategic thinking is limiting Wales’ ability to attract research funding and talent. Wales needs a clear vision for a world-class medical research environment that benefits cancer patients.
Cancer Research UK calls for the Welsh Government to:
- Better co-ordinate and plan for medical research;
- Fully implement the recommendations of the Welsh Government-commissioned Diamond and Reid reviews;
- Increase QR funding for universities;
- Assess the potential effect of Brexit on medical research, including addressing any loss of funding for programmes such as Sêr Cymru;
- Explore ways to improve patient access to clinical trials.
In Wales we work to ensure that there is a future where there are no longer any deaths caused by smoking related cancers.
We work to ensure that Welsh Government keeps its commitment to a smokefree Wales by 2030 and ensures stop smoking services are adequately funded.
We also fund Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to ensure that tobacco control and a smokefree commitment stays on the Welsh Government’s agenda.
Our work in Wales also includes working directly with members of Senedd Cymru to provide a secretariat role to the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Cancer. The CPG on cancer provide valuable opportunities for MSs and other stakeholders to meet and discuss key issues in Welsh cancer services. The CPG on Cancer has focused on projects looking at the cancer workforce in Wales, and cancer inequalities through regular meetings.
To become a stakeholder member of the Cross-Party Group on Cancer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In Wales Cancer Research UK has:
2023: Published our inequalities report, focussing on the impact of socioeconomic inequalities throughout the cancer pathway.
2022: Worked with the Wales Cancer Alliance, Wales Cancer Network and Welsh Government to support the development of ‘A Cancer Improvement Plan for NHS Wales’ (published 2023). Continued to co-lead Obesity Alliance Cymru, to respond to the Welsh Government’s consultation on price promotions on foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
2021: Worked with all parties and candidates during the Senedd Election campaign to ensure cancer was a priority for all political parties.
2020: Focused on ensuring people affected by cancer were supported through the COVID pandemic, in order to ensure people had access to treatments, diagnostics and screening when possible.
2019: Co-led the Obesity Alliance Cymru, which has been a driving force in influencing the content of Welsh Government’s draft Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy on obesity.
2018: Provided thought leadership on the barriers facing the medical research environment in Wales. Our work has been used to develop a new Wales cancer research strategy.
2017: Supported initiatives to improve earlier diagnosis in Wales, including funding evaluation of the Rapid Diagnostic Clinic pilots in South Wales, and supporting the Single Cancer Pathway.
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