More than 250,000 people in England are diagnosed with cancer every year and around 130,000 die from the disease.
When the second annual report on Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer was published, in December 2012, showing that cancer survival rates were improving, Jeremy Hunt pledged to make England among the best in Europe at tackling cancer.
In particular, the government is promoting action by:
- piloting new screening techniques to help early diagnosis, including flexible sigmoidoscopy for bowel cancer and more sensitive approaches to cervical screening
- changing behaviour: extending the successful Be Clear on Cancer awareness campaign in 2013 to include more types of cancer
- finding out what cancer survivors need: for the first time we’ve asked cancer patients what they think about their own quality of life living with or beyond cancer. We are continuing to collect and act on these views
- improving treatment: £165 million is being made available to expand radiotherapy capacity, including the Radiotherapy Innovation Fund
- spreading excellence to bring the worst performing services into line with the best: using the growing data on outcomes and catalogue of NICE quality standards to improve performance.
‘Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer’ was published in January 2011 and set out plans to save an additional 5,000 lives every year by 2014/15.
Currently about 1.8 million people are living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. At the time of publication of the cancer strategy, outcomes for people with cancer remained poor in comparison to the best outcomes in Europe.