The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce has joined with 28 other charities and charity coalitions in signing up to the One Cancer Voice Manifesto, published this week. The manifesto sets out a unified set of recommendations from the cancer charity sector for the next Government.

The manifesto’s introduction notes that there is significant variation in the improvements made across different cancer types, highlighting that the average five-year survival for the six less survivable cancers remains at just 14%.

The report calls for action in six overarching areas, calling for the Government to:

  1. Put the right staff in place
  2. Diagnose cancer earlier
  3. Ensure people living with cancer have access to the appropriate treatment and psychological support
  4. Support people living with cancer beyond their treatment
  5. Preserve the UK’s status as a world-leader in cancer research
  6. Prevent people from developing cancer.

Of particular relevance to less survivable cancers, the manifesto welcomes the ambition in the NHS Long Term Plan to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 and 2 by 2028, up from just over half now, but notes the importance of ensuring that this is inclusive of all cancer types, particularly those which currently face far lower than average diagnosis rates. Only a quarter of less survivable cancers for which data is available are diagnosed at stage 1 or 2 compared to half of all common cancers.

The manifesto also calls for the roll-out of Rapid Diagnostic Centres, further development of the Targeted Lung Health Check programme and research and development of early diagnostic tools available in primary care, including cytosponge, saliva, breath, urine and blood tests, all of which would help to increase earlier diagnosis of less survivable cancers.

Anna Jewell, Chair of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, said: “By coming together to produce the One Cancer Voice Manifesto, the cancer charity sector has presented the next Government with a clear set of recommendations for action. As the manifesto highlights, there is a danger that improvements in early diagnosis of more survivable cancers could disguise a lack of improvement in less survivable cancers. It is vital that improvements in cancer outcomes deliver for all cancers.

We are also pleased to give our backing to cross-cancer priorities, such as ensuring people living with cancer have access to the appropriate treatment and psychological support and delivering increases in the cancer workforce to ensure cancer patients receive optimal care. I hope the next Government will act on these excellent recommendations.”