Breast Cancer Now responds to England Cancer Strategy progress report, which was published last week.

Monday 23 October 2017      Campaigns and policy

The second annual progress report of the England Cancer Strategy was published last week. The Cancer Strategy, written in 2015 by the Independent Cancer Task Force is a five year strategy to improve cancer services in England, which the government has committed to delivering. With 96 recommendations spanning the whole patient pathway, the Strategy is ambitious and has the potential to transform cancer outcomes and patient experience.

This new report sets out progress that has been made over the past two years. As we approach the half way point of the Strategy, we are concerned about the pace of progress and call for further transparency over plans and funding for its remaining work.

Sam Nicklin, Assistant Director of Policy and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“We are pleased to hear of these steps forward – in particular, the efforts over the past year to establish Cancer Alliances and to develop plans to deliver the Cancer Strategy locally have been encouraging, despite funding pressures.

“That said, we are extremely disappointed not to see more tangible progress on breast cancer, particularly as we approach the halfway point of the Strategy. This report simply does not go far enough to instil confidence that all of the Strategy’s 96 recommendations – and especially those relevant for breast cancer patients – will be delivered by 2020. Little is being done to address the clear and urgent shortfalls in the cancer workforce, or to prevent metastatic breast cancer, including by improving access to bisphosphonates for post-menopausal breast cancer patients.

“While we have seen real strides forward in recent decades, progress on breast cancer is now stalling – as funding pressures continue to affect the delivery of this Strategy. With a lack of leadership across the UK preventing research breakthroughs from reaching patients and seeing the NHS miss clear opportunities to save lives, we need to see urgent action to reverse this trend.

“Our new Good Enough? Breast cancer in the UK report outlines clear and deliverable recommendations to ensure we keep up the pace of progress for NHS patients in England – and we remain ready and willing to work with NHS England to help implement them.”