Cancer survival rates double over the past 40 years

Cancer research taking place across the UK has helped dramatically improve survival rates since 1970s.

Blood sampleCancer survival has doubled over the last 40 years with new discoveries and treatments being produced – but there is still a long way to go. Currently one in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer Research UK’s mission is to prevent, control & cure cancer, aiming to see 3 in 4 patients surviving cancer by 2034.

Through a network of key locations, consisting of 5 world-leading institutes and 13 outstanding centres for research, Cancer Research UK is bringing together regional expertise in the fight against cancer. This research is in partnership with NHS hospitals, universities and other research organisations.  By investing over £190 million into our Cancer Research UK Centres alone over the next 5 years, the charity will ensure that our scientists are supported by the expert technical staff and state of the art equipment they need to enable life-saving research to continue.

4,000 Cancer Research UK scientists, doctors and nurses are working to find ways to prevent cancer, diagnose the disease earlier and treat cancer using more effective and targeted treatments. From the research Centre in Edinburgh, Dr Stefan Symeonides explains; 

One of the great things about the way Cancer Research UK provides funding is that it supports a network of research centres that links the whole of the UK.

The funding supports us here in Edinburgh but also our colleagues in Glasgow, Southampton, Cambridge, Newcastle and London. We can all work together, and that research can lead to trials that patients can access across the whole country.


Key research areas across the UK

The Francis Crick Institute, a brand new state of the art facility, recently opened in London, housing 1,200 scientists across many different areas of research. Biologists, chemists and mathematicians, all housed under one roof, are collaborating to make new discoveries about the disease and finding new treatments. It is this multidisciplinary collaboration that is key to the Crick’s success. Researching the biology of one disease can advance our understanding of a range of other health challenges. Further, combining the ideas of one discipline with that of another has shown to push the boundaries of innovation. 

Cancer Research UK’s scientists based in Southampton are recognised internationally for their research into immunotherapy, a type of treatment that harnesses the power of the body’s own immune system to target cancer. They are using the latest research advances to improve treatment for cancer patients in and around Southampton and across the UK. 

Oxford is not just famous for the boat race, its cancer research is top notch too. Researchers here shaped the use of the drug Tamoxifen, considered to be the most important drug in the history of breast cancer treatment, which has saved thousands of lives.

Last year, over £33 million was spent on some of the UK’s best scientific and clinical research in Scotland. Glasgow is home to a thriving community of world-class cancer scientists and doctors, who are working to reduce the devastating impact of this disease, not only locally, but around the world. An exciting programme of work has been established at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research to seek out potential drug targets and develop cancer drug treatments of the future. 

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives

With continued support, Cancer Research UK can continue to create ground-breaking treatments and tackle hard to treat cancers to make progress towards the day when three in four people beat cancer. Over a third of research taking place is thanks to Gifts left to the charity in Wills, research which would not be possible without it.

Cancer Research UKLeave a life-changing gift

Gifts in Wills are helping to fund cutting-edge technology, kinder treatments and new cures to help beat cancer sooner. Request your free information pack today, call 0800 035 9000 or visit cruk.org/legacies.

Last modified: June 10, 2021

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