6th February 2020

Lung cancer research funding reaches new high – but there’s no room for complacency

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The UK is now spending more on lung cancer research than ever before.

We are delighted by this news as our charity has campaigned hard to support research into lung cancer throughout our entire 30-year history.

In fact, lung cancer is now second only to breast cancer in terms of research spend.

That was confirmed in the latest figures released by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), which show that funding for cancer research by NCRI partners has reached £700m for the first time.

Overall spending by organisations who fund research into cancer has also increased, reaching over £700m for the first time ever in the year 2018/19. This follows five years of spending increases and the highest level of funding since NCRI started collecting data in 2002.

This is clearly good news for people living with lung cancer, but, as our chief executive Paula Chadwick points out, we need to ensure this level of investment is sustained.

She said, “It’s very encouraging to see that lung cancer is – at long last – receiving higher levels of research spend. It’s what we’ve been pushing so hard to see throughout our existence as a charity. We can’t rest on laurels, however.

“We must ensure there’s fully-guaranteed long-term investment in lung cancer research because only that will provide the framework to help us to emulate the successes we’ve seen in breast cancer, for instance.

Paula Chadwick, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Chief Executive

“Back in the 1970s, only four in every ten women who had breast cancer would survive for ten years or more. Now that survival rate has been transformed; in 2020, up to eight people in ten are surviving breast cancer for ten years or more. In other words, the ten-year survival rate has doubled.

“That’s the level of improvement we want for people with lung cancer. To do that, we require proper, regular, consistent long-term investment in research dedicated to lung cancer. We’ve been playing our part for 30 years; we need key policy-makers to do the same”.

The NCRI report also breaks down spending levels according to ley areas of research carried out. Our charity has always placed an emphasis on early detection, as this is the key to improving survival rates in lung cancer.

The figures show that the overall increase in cancer research funding was driven by a 9% increase in spend in Early Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis research.

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Spend by research type

CSO1: Biology, CSO2: Etiology, CSO3: Prevention, CSO4: Early Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis, CSO5: Treatment, CSO6: Cancer Control, Survivorship and Outcomes

NCRI continues to work with funders of all cancer types to maximise the value and benefits of cancer research for patients and the public. NCRI involves patients, carers and others affected by cancer (also known as ‘consumers’) at all stages of its activities, including developing clinical trials and high-quality NCRI data studies.