Shelving the Ten-Year Cancer Plan is a Travesty

Last March, on behalf of the UK’s lung cancer community, the UKLCC responded the Government’s call for evidence for a Ten-Year Cancer Plan in England in which the former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care declared a ‘war on cancer’.1 

Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer.2  In England, the disease it is responsible for nearly 28,000 of all cancer deaths (nearly 35,00 across the UK)3 and only 16.2 percent (one in six) people with lung cancer will survive for five years or more.4 The UK has among the worst survival outcomes in Europe.4  

Therefore, we are wholly disappointed to see that the Government has announced that the detailed Ten-year cancer strategy anticipated, has now been shelved. It is to be replaced with an interim Five-year Major Conditions Strategy, of which cancer will only be one part.5 This is a travesty.

Cancer Research UK, a member of the UKLCC, has outlined in its One Cancer Voice campaign, that we cannot deliver the ‘world-class cancer services’ that were promised without a detailed plan for cancer.  We need a comprehensive, long-term strategy now. 

We also need the Government to implement the recent recommendations of the UK National Screening Committee7 - to establish lung cancer screening programmes across the four nations – urgently. This will have a huge impact on overall cancer outcomes.

 We will continue to support our Coalition members to ensure that the cancer element of the Major Conditions Strategy is robust and ambitious.