Prevention, Survivorship Highlighted in England’s Cancer Plan Update

Cancer prevention and survivorship feature prominently in England’s latest update to its national cancer plan. The update—called the cancer reform strategy—comes with £370 million (US$740 million) in new funding, though critics say that’s not nearly enough to make effective changes.

“Cancer’s a fast-moving area, and we’ve made a lot of strides in a lot of different areas. [The cancer reform strategy] is moving the agenda on with a focus on areas that weren’t focused on as strongly in the cancer plan,” said Teresa Moss, director of the National Cancer Action Team, part of England’s National Health Service (NHS).

Although the original cancer plan in 2000 did cover some aspects of prevention, the update strengthens the focus. “It’s a slightly different emphasis,” said Catherine Foot, head of policy for Cancer Research UK. “For instance, in 2000, the evidence wasn’t as clear as it is now on the link between obesity and cancer. In 2000, the policy initiatives on diet and cancer were things like the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable initiative, whereas now, we’re looking at obesity and weight management. It’s a shift in priorities.”

Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, March 25, 2008. Read the full article online.