Manifesto for Cancer Research and Care

Graphic image of circles representing cancer cells being nudged and changing over time - showing the direct impact of the Manifesto for Cancer Research & Care

Practical policies to beat cancer from research to care

We’re developing a manifesto that sets out how to improve cancer outcomes ahead of the general election.

Cancer is a growing problem

1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime*. Waiting time targets aren’t being met. People face unequal access to treatment. Cancer outcomes aren’t keeping pace with other countries.  

And with a growing and ageing population, the number of cases diagnosed each year is projected to rise by a third to over half a million each year by 2040.

But the problem is fixable

At Cancer Research UK, we exist to beat cancer. We’re the largest funder of research globally. And so far, we’ve made incredible progress – over the last 50 years, we’ve helped double cancer survival in the UK. From trials to cancer care, no other organisation in the world has the same depth and breadth of expertise. 

We’re uniquely placed to bring together experts to develop practical policy proposals to deliver real change for people. That’s why, over the course of 2023, we will be developing a long-term manifesto to improve cancer research and care in the UK.  

We’ll be publishing expert comment pieces and holding roundtables with stakeholders from across the cancer community and beyond – from political and system leaders to cancer experts, researchers, policymakers, economists, clinicians and cancer patients. 

From these, we’ll develop a set of actionable policy recommendations that will transform cancer outcomes for people across the UK – the Manifesto for Cancer Research and Care. We’ll publish this at the end of the year, in time to inform policy debates leading into the next general election, with further work in future years for national elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

*Ahmad AS et al, British Journal of Cancer, 2015 

A manifesto in 4 chapters

Photography of clinical bottles in a research laboratory

Discovery and translational research

Research is key to saving lives – from preventing cancer, detecting and diagnosing it earlier to finding more effective, kinder treatments for people affected by cancer. This country can build on its strengths in discovery research by turning findings into new technologies and treatments, securing rapid access to data and making the necessary reforms to remain an attractive destination for major oncology trials. Together, these steps will improve patient outcomes and boost economic growth with more high-value jobs across the country. 

For more information on discovery and translational research policy, please contact

Image of a serious looking man in a suit standing outside the parliament building holding a cigarette packet that says "smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of cancer"

Preventing cancer

By reducing people’s chance of developing cancer in the first place, we can lessen pressure on the NHS, save lives and boost the economy. The most impactful and cost-effective way to prevent cancer is by taking bold action on the social factors that impact our health and are linked to cancer such as smoking, childhood obesity, alcohol, air pollution and human papillomavirus (HPV). 

For more information on cancer prevention policy, please contact  

Radiographer looking at a mammogram image on a screen

Detecting, diagnosing and treating cancer

Early detection and diagnosis, followed by effective treatment, improves survival for nearly all cancer types. Early diagnosis is already a priority for the UK Government, taking prominence in the four national cancer control plans. Now, the UK Government must redouble efforts to optimise screening programmes, encourage help-seeking for signs and symptoms of cancer and put in place innovative pathways and models of access and care. Timely and managed cancer diagnoses mean people have better patient experience with better outcomes, so the UK Government must also reduce the number of people diagnosed through emergency care, as well as disparities in the treatment people receive. 

For more information on detection, diagnosis and treatment policy, please contact  

Picture of a cancer research nurse and consultant discussing results

Health system infrastructure

With investment and reform, our health services can move from world-lagging to world-leading for people affected by cancer. The UK Government needs to address today’s chronic workforce shortages and upskill the workforce to prepare for the future of cancer care. The power of data is huge – but the right infrastructure needs to be put in place to harness it. And there must be a national strategy, structures of accountability and targets that drive improvements in outcomes to make our vision for cancer prevention and survival a reality. 

For more information on health system infrastructure policy, please contact

Watch our Cancer in the UK webinar

In March, we published a report, Cancer in the UK: Overview 2023, examining the key challenges for cancer services and people affected by cancer today. This webinar with Professor Mike Richards provides a summary of the report’s findings across different areas of cancer care and a chance to hear Mike’s reflections. From cancer incidence to prevention, early diagnosis and treatment, hear about the progress that’s been made and what still needs to be done. 

Contact us

For updates on expert comment pieces, visit

For more information on our Manifesto for Cancer Research and Care, please email