Breast Cancer UK submission to Cancer Task Force | Breast Cancer UK

Breast Cancer UK submission to Cancer Task Force

Published 27 Feb 2015

Breast Cancer UK has called on the Independent Cancer Task Force to make a broader commitment to primary prevention within the new Five Year Strategy for Cancer Services. 

The new task force, set up in January, will develop a five-year strategy for cancer services, to be published in the summer, that aims to "improve survival rates and save thousands of lives". The taskforce is chaired by Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar and has been asked to deliver the vision set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View and will work across the entire health system. 

Breast Cancer UK has welcomed the establishment of the task force and the opportunity to feed into the new strategy but has highlighted the urgent need to do more to promote primary prevention, to look beyond lifestyle and genetics and to tackle rocketing cancer incidence rates as well as implementing measures to reduce mortalities.  

To date the UK invests only a small proportion of its significant cancer research budget into understanding the exogenous causes of the disease*.  This has led to prevention policies which ignore the links between exposures to harmful exogenous chemicals and majors cancers like breast cancer.  The new five year cancer strategy must take steps to redress this balance.  

Breast Cancer UK's full submission to the Task Force Breast Cancer can be found here.    

In summary, Breast Cancer UK urges the Task Force to develop a new Five Year Strategy for Cancer Services which includes:

  • A recommendation that an independent task force be established to review national research efforts and develop a comprehensive national strategy on environmental and genetic factors related to cancer;
  • A commitment to develop and implement a primary cancer prevention strategy which commits to the improvement of our understanding of the aetiology of cancer and acknowledges the links between certain cancers and environmental pollutants and other  exogenous chemicals that are harmful; 
  • A commitment to an increase in cancer research funding over the next 5 years by NCRI research partners into “Exogenous Factors in the Origin and Cause of Cancer” (CSO 2.1) from 1.3% to 4.3% of total funding, returning it to levels seen in 2002, and that funding into “Prevention” (CSO 3) is increased from 3.4% to at least 5%*, to help reflect the urgent need to identify interventions to help reduce cancer risk; and,
  • A recommendation that NHS advice services publish advice for pregnant women on reducing in utero exposures to hazardous chemicals, including endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Read Breast Cancer UK's full submission to the Cancer Task Force

* Data on cancer research funding (2014)

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