Javid's proposed plan will tackle a decrease in cancer care availability brought on by the pandemic. Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced a 10-year plan today that aims to improve cancer care in the UK after the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has had detrimental effects on care services, with patients unable to go for check-ups. There was also a large back-log of patients as the pandemic took priority.

Over the course of the pandemic, there were 50,000 fewer cancer diagnosis’ in the UK, with only 34,000 in England between March 2020 and November 2021.

Despite the pandemic, cancer care has greatly improved in recent years. For patients diagnosed in 2015, there was a 72% survival rate after one year. The Health Secretary’s plan intends to build on this, with a key part of the plan’s strategy in developing the latest scientific and technological advances in cancer research.

Pancreatic Cancer cells. Image by Min Yu via Associated Press.

The plan also seeks to implement:

  • increase the number of early diagnosis, whereby treatment is more effective.
  • increasing the cancer workforce
  • more resources in preventing cancer, e.g. anti-smoking campaigns
  • increased research on vaccines, early diagnosis’s and treatments.

Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for the NHS, said: “The NHS is committed to saving more lives from cancer by finding more cases at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat in line with our ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan – it is this action that will ultimately help us to save thousands of lives sadly lost to cancer every year.”

Cancer remains the biggest cause of death from disease in the UK.