12th November 2019

Charities call for funding fairness to improve cancer survival rates

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Less survivable cancers, including lung cancer, receive five times less funding than the more survivable forms of the disease, a new report has revealed.

The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, of which Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is one of the members, found cancers with the best survival rates, such as breast, prostate and kidney, received £1.6 billion between 2007 and 2016, compared to just £350million for the most lethal types.

The five-year survival rate for pancreatic, liver, brain, oesophageal, stomach and lung cancer is just 14 per cent collectively. For lung cancer alone, it is just 10 per cent.

Everyone deserves an equal chance to survive cancer.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

Lung cancer has been historically underfunded. In 2004, lung cancer received just £7m in research funding. In the same year, 33,000 men and women died of the disease. This equates to £212 spent per death.

Research spend on lung cancer then declined the following year and did not surpass £7m until 2007/08. This is despite incidence rates in women increasing.

As a result, whilst other cancers have seen significant improvement in long term survival, lung cancer has remained stagnant.

Paula Chadwick is the chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation:

“I wish we didn’t have to have a less survivable taskforce. I wish survival rates for all cancers mirrored the success of breast and prostate cancers.

“However, one of the reasons we need this taskforce is because these cancers have been underfunded for decades and, as a result, our survival rates lag significantly behind.

“It sounds pretty obvious but the more money for research a cancer receives, the more progress that is made and the more lives that are saved. Everyone deserves an equal chance to survive cancer. That is why we, alongside the other members of the less survivable cancer taskforce, aim to double survival rates for lung cancer and the other less survivable cancers.”