Pulling together to beat cancer
Cancer We have come a long way, but we still have far to go before we reach a future free from the fear of cancer. That is what drives us on.
Cancer touches almost everyone’s lives, with 1 in 2 people in the UK now expected to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime. It’s a stark statistic but, while more people are being diagnosed, survival is at an all-time high. Research and better cancer services have helped double UK survival over the last 40 years.
But we still have a long way to go. At Cancer Research UK, our ambition is to reach three in four people surviving cancer by 2034. The only way we can achieve that is by working together: fundraisers, researchers, volunteers and MPs can all help to make the UK a world leader for cancer survival.
More than 4 in 10 cancers in the UK are preventable largely through lifestyle changes, so encouraging healthier behaviours will help prevent many cancers and other serious diseases.
We know more than ever about the risk factors we can influence, and although a healthy lifestyle isn’t a guarantee against cancer it helps stack the odds in our favour. We also know that diagnosing cancer early makes treatment more likely to be successful, which is why it’s so important we continue to research the best ways to spot the disease early, raise awareness of signs and symptoms and help health professionals recognise those signs and take action early.
Thanks to research, our understanding of cancer has grown hugely, which has led to important advances in the ways we treat the disease. A revolution in genetic sequencing means personalised cancer medicine is already a reality for many patients, ensuring the best chance of recovery.
There is growing interest in the potential of simple tests, for example blood or urine samples, to help diagnose cancer, as well as monitoring the disease to see much more quickly if the cancer is responding to therapy. We’re also developing smarter technologies and techniques in well-established treatments like radiotherapy, making it more precise, more effective and reducing side-effects.
One area that is causing huge excitement is immunotherapy – harnessing the power of the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapies have shown some dramatic results in clinical trials. We are all eagerly watching to see how their potential can be maximised and the types of cancer they could help treat.
Survival is higher than ever and treatments are getting kinder. Half of all cancer patients now survive for at least 10 years after diagnosis but some have significant long-term effects. Working together to keep the momentum going is vital to ensure we can bring the benefits of research to patients and the public faster.