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07 September 2021

Researchers begin to investigate the UK's contribution to cancer control in low- and middle-income countries

The U.K. has a long history of funding national cancer research, yet it’s role in helping the global agenda has not been subject to much scrutiny.

global cancer research

Over the past 10 years, the Lancet Oncology has been at the forefront of pushing the global agenda, increasing solidarity and bringing cancer issues for low and middle income countries onto a global policy stage.

Researchers from the School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences, led by Professor Richard Sullivan - have published a paper as part of a new series in the Lancet Oncology – designed to start the debate on what the role should be for the U.K. in global cancer. This paper collates experiences and insights gained from the London Global Cancer Week, and the recently formed UK Global Cancer Network.

Approximately 16 million people die prematurely each year from non-communicable diseases; 82% of these are in low-income and middle-income countries. On the other hand, the U.K. has one of the most well-funded cancer care and research systems in the world. It could be argued that the U.K. has a moral and clinical imperative to expand its horizons in both education and training beyond its national borders.

Whilst the U.K. does have a rich strata of cancer healthcare professionals and researchers dedicated to global cancer, the reality is that there is little significant funding. This series is intended to build the momentum to improve global cancer support from the wealthy research and education funders in the U.K. to some of the lesser privileged countries. For this project to be successful, interest from the world’s wealthiest funders such as Cancer Research UK is needed.

Cancer does not recognise borders and nor should we. However, global cancer research and capacity building receives little support from the major U.K. funders instead being driven by a dedicated group of cancer care and research professionals with friends and colleagues across the world.

Professor Richard Sullivan

The team of researchers are launching the series at this years London Global Cancer Week, and also launching an analysis of the U.K.’s cancer research to understand in greater depth where the U.K. community is collaborating and opportunities for expanding.

The U.K. has committed through its integrated review to more global engagement in global health, and cancer is clearly an area where the need and gains are high.

Professor Richard Sullivan

In this story


Director, Institute of Cancer Policy and Co-Director of the Centre for Conflict & Health Research

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