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Let's beat cancer sooner

Cancer is a national issue. It affects families up and down the country. So we need to make sure that more cancers are diagnosed earlier and that everyone in the UK with a diagnosis receives the best treatment.

That need is echoed today as our latest regional figures reveal that almost 2,000 lung cancer patients are missing out on life-saving surgery each year.

But to turn these figures around we need political action. So with just over six months to go to the General Election, we’ve launched a new campaign, Cross Cancer Out.

As politicians gear up their own election campaigns in constituencies across the UK, we need to make sure that they know about the common cause they can all support – beating cancer.

That’s why we’re asking election candidates to show their determination to join us in the fight to cross cancer out.

Political action saves lives

There is good news – the tables are turning, with half of people now surviving cancer for at least 10 years. And Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of this progress, which has seen survival rates in the UK double in the last 40 years.

Thanks to our supporters, we’ve already had some fantastic campaigning successes in recent years, as the graphic below shows. These have saved lives and improved public awareness of cancer and its causes and symptoms.

Our campaign successes

Our campaign successes so far (click the image to view larger version)

But to accelerate this progress and see more people beat the disease, the political drive to take on cancer must quicken to match the pace of research.

The next Government’s decisions will affect how fast and how far we progress in the next five years towards our goal of beating cancer.

Building relationships with tomorrow’s decision-makers

Every one of the 650 MPs elected to Parliament next May has the opportunity to make real change happen on the issues that affect cancer patients in the UK. They are given a platform from which they can support and deliver on measures that we know from our research will save more lives.

That’s why it’s important that even before an election is held, we make sure the candidates standing for a seat in the next Parliament are fully engaged with the issues around cancer.

Through campaigning, we can provide important information about what we think are the top priorities for beating cancer, increasing awareness of the critical role the candidates could play if they become an MP, and helping to make our priorities their priorities.

If we can make sure that as many MPs as possible in the next Parliament  are  frontrunners in the fight to cross cancer out – we will have started to build the kind of political environment that will best support our aims and ensures the research we do has the greatest possible impact during the next five years of Government and beyond.

Our campaign calls

Beating cancer is a big ambition, but with the right political support to improve early diagnosis and access to treatments, we will get us there sooner.

The Cross Cancer Out campaign urges all candidates from all political parties to commit to making our NHS cancer services the best in the world. It focuses on a number of key measures aimed at improving cancer survival across the UK:

  • Continued support for campaigns to raise public awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer
  • A commitment to increase participation in the national bowel cancer screening programme
  • Equal access to innovative radiotherapy, surgery and effective cancer drugs, including drugs targeted to patients’ tumours

Read more about where we think the next Government can take action to improve early diagnosis and access to treatments.

How you can help

Cancer matters to all of us – whether it’s through direct experience ourselves or our families having been touched by the disease. So let’s all join the fight and play our part to Cross Cancer Out – you and your next MP included.

As the saying goes, “They work for you!” So if beating cancer is your top priority, then don’t let your election candidates forget it should be at the top of their political agenda too.

As a collective force of campaigners, together we will influence the political decisions that can target cancer in the next Parliament.

Lizzy Allen is campaigning manager at Cancer Research UK

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Nick Peel April 7, 2015

Hi Molly,

Thanks for your comment. You’re correct, health is a devolved issue, but we also work with the Governments and Parliaments in the devolved nations to ensure that cancer remains high on the agenda in these nations too, as well as England. Over the last few years we’ve made progress in beating cancer across the whole of the UK, including by tightening tobacco controls and banning the use of sunbeds for under-18’s in all four nations.

And although health is a devolved issue, it’s still important for our work now, and in the next UK Parliament, for Westminster candidates based in the devolved nations to be asked to join our campaign. This will show that, if elected, they will be keen to work with us on a range of UK-wide issues that they would have direct influence over.

Best wishes,

Nick, Cancer Research UK

molly April 7, 2015

Surely this only applies to England as health is devolved in the other nations of the UK.

Karen Penn October 24, 2014

Great blog and great information and we need people to sign up now and take this action.

Patrick McGuire October 24, 2014

Excellent blog, Lizzy. Very clear, concise and engaging. Let’s hope plenty of people sign up and take action.