man and woman talking

A diagnosis of cancer is devastating and can affect our personal, social and working lives along with all those who are close to us.  We need to ensure that people with a cancer diagnosis have access to high-quality health and cancer services, no matter where they are born, grow, age, work or live. 

Every two minutes someone in England will be told they have cancer. Half of the people born since 1960 will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. By 2040 it is expected that there will be 5.3 million people living with cancer. More than half of people receiving a cancer diagnosis will live ten years or more and 70% of people with cancer are living with another long term condition. An ageing population combined with increased survival rates means that the number of people diagnosed and living with cancer will continue to grow, even with improvements in prevention and treatment. 

World Cancer Day 2022 

February 4th is World Cancer Day. The overall aim of this day is to unite, raise awareness and take action.

In 2000 the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium established The Paris Charter. The charter includes the adoption of World Cancer Day along with the promotion of research, prevention of cancer, improvement of patient services, raising awareness and mobilising the global community to make progress against cancer. 

‘Close the Care Gap’ – Tackling health inequalities

2022 is the first year of a three-year campaign themed ‘Close the Care Gap’. It is about ‘understanding and recognising the inequities in cancer care around the globe. It’s about having an open mind, challenging assumptions, and looking at the hard facts: 

  • Inequity in cancer care costs lives. 
  • People who seek cancer care hit barriers at every turn. 
  • Income, education, location and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle are just a few of the factors that can negatively affect care. 
  • The gap affects everyone, including you and your loved ones. 
  • These barriers are not set in stone. They can be changed.’  

The NHS Long Term Plan 2019 ambition makes a commitment to reduce health inequalities and increase ‘healthy life expectancy by 2035’. As part of the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic the NHS Cancer programme published its Cancer services recovery plan in December 2020 with a commitment that they have ‘given regard to the need to reduce inequalities between patients in access to, and outcomes from healthcare services and to ensure services are provided in an integrated way where this might reduce health inequalities’.

Great strides continue to be made in developing new technologies and treatments to diagnose and treat cancer. With growing numbers of people surviving and living longer after a diagnosis of cancer it is imperative that services are designed and developed to provide care and support for the future and inequalities are addressed. In the UK cancer survival has doubled over the past 40 years from 24% - 50%.  

Key to the NHS’s work to reduce inequalities in cancer outcomes and improve access and experience of care for people is its ambition that by 2028 75% of all cancer will be diagnosed at an early stage and 55,000 more people will be living five years or more after their diagnosis.  To support achieving this ambition the SCW Cancer Service is actively working with a range of partners. This includes working with the Somerset, Wiltshire, Avon and Gloucestershire (SWAG) Cancer Alliance supporting the NHSE&I Targeted Lung Health Check programme (TLHC); Somerset CCG with their cancer health inequalities programme which has a focus on increasing cancer screening uptake for people with a learning disability; and development of early diagnosis dashboards supporting primary care to identify key target areas in the South West and Surrey and Sussex. 

All of these programmes aim to increase the diagnosis of early-stage cancer when it is more treatable resulting in increased survival rates. Identifying key population groups and targeting interventions helps to reduce inequalities thus supporting actions to ‘Close the Care Gap’.

To find out more, contact SCW's cancer team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Clinical Project Manager

Related articles

More blogs