The ACP responded to NHS Englands announcement of a new independent taskforce to develop a five-year action plan for cancer services that will improve survival rates and save thousands of lives.
Although the focus seems to be primarily on services and treatment which we agree are vital – we need the highest possible standards of care – we were very disappointed not to see environmental and occupational risk factors addressed and actioned in any of the documents referenced for the strategy. Indeed in the report, Five Year Forward View, the emphasis appears to be only on lifestyle interventions.
Although CRUK have narrowed the new cancer strategy to service provision they did acknowledge that the task force is: “A great opportunity for the cancer community to lead development of a cross-system, independent and ambitious new cancer plan……..and addressing the preventable causes of cancer will be key to seeing progress.”
We believe that unless we tackle the primary prevention of cancer i.e. stopping cancer before it starts, we are unlikely to see any improvement in the cancer epidemic. There are many barriers to action on the primary prevention of cancer; cancer is also caused by lack of political will. In our view, the biggest barrier to addressing cancer services is the lack of action on primary prevention which necessitates greater resources into services in the first place.
We sincerley hope this is a great opportunity to include the environmental and occupational risk factors for cancer into new cancer plans…without addressing these confounding risk factors we can only look forward to a cancer forever future.
Our submission can be downloaded here Submission to Cancer Task Force