Britain Against Cancer 2008
The 10th annual Britain Against Cancer conference, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer, took place on 2nd December in Church House, Westminster.
The conference brings together stakeholders from across the sector to debate the issues and policies relevant to people affected by cancer. The theme of this year's conference was the progress of the Cancer Reform Strategy one year on.
Levers of implementation in the Cancer Reform Strategy
In the morning session, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Ann Keen, and the National Clinical Director for Cancer, Professor Mike Richards, gave presentations on the Department of Health's assessment of the first year of implementation of the Cancer Reform Strategy.
View Mike Richards' presentation [PDF]
Mike Richards, the National Clinical Director for Cancer
They highlighted areas of the Cancer Reform Strategy that they felt had gone well in the first year – including the introduction of the HPV vaccine and the roll out of the bowel cancer screening programme. They both also pointed to the success so far of the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative, which aims to improve the lives of the 1.6m cancer survivors in the UK today, and the establishment of the National Cancer Intelligence Network, which aims to provide better information on cancer services.
Looking to next year, Professor Richards pointed to the importance of engaging primary care, particularly in early diagnosis, and ensuring that the CRS is implemented at the local level.
In a poll of audience members on the day 46% thought that information and support services had made most progress in the first year of implementation, supporting the Department's assessment.
Ann Keen, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
However, only 12% thought that this area needed to be the priority for next year, with 49% answering that treatment and care should be the focus.
The reform of NICE in delivering improved treatment and care for cancer patients was a major theme of the conference. During one of the plenary sessions, several myeloma patients challenged the Minister on NICE processes and decisions on drugs and treatments that they need and have been refused funding for within the NHS.
Another important issue raised at the conference was cancer equalities, and many delegates said that these needed to be a key focus for the next year. Professor Richards himself pointed to the variations between socio-economic groups in cancer treatments, and others raised issues affecting BME groups, gay people, older people, and younger people, amongst others.
The audience were asked a series of questions throughout the day.
View the results of the electronic voting polls [PDF].
Six breakout sessions were held during the day, looking at different aspects of the Cancer Reform Strategy and assessing the progress of these areas in the first year of implementation.
You can find notes and presentations from the speakers on the links below:
Diagnosing cancer earlier
Ensuring better treatment and reducing cancer inequalities
Living with or beyond cancer
Delivering care in the most appropriate setting
End of life care
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer would like to thank the supporters of the Britain Against Cancer 2008 (10th Anniversary) Conference. All have a medical expertise and commercial interest in cancer, but had no involvement in the programme of the conference:
AstraZeneca, Bayer Schering Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche