Macmillan campaigners stood in the street holding signs

General Election: Doing whatever it takes to get cancer on the agenda

Published: 02 July 2024
This General Election marks a critical opportunity to transform people's experience of living with cancer. Whoever forms the next government, we’ll do whatever it takes to ensure people with cancer get the very best care. Here’s how we’ve been fighting with and for you in the lead up to the election. 
Portrait photo of Jack Wakefield

Jack Wakefield Campaign Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support

What we've achieved together

It’s now been six weeks since that rainy afternoon when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surprised everyone (well, almost everyone) by announcing a summer election. With so many issues grappling for limited airtime, we knew we needed to do all we could to get cancer care on the agenda of both politicians and the media, and make sure whoever forms the next government know quality cancer care is a priority for the UK public. 

Within minutes of the election being announced, we started our response on social media and since then we’ve been helping thousands of you to email all your local candidates and ask them to champion cancer care in the next Parliament – remarkably you've contacted candidates in 91% of all UK constituencies, with well over 100 responding to your requests too. If you’ve had a reply from a candidate, please do forward it to our team:

Breaking through the noise

Image of the front cover of The Daily Telegraph from 19th June 2024. The headline reads, 'Britain 20 years behind Europe on cancer care'.
Image: Front cover of The Daily Telegraph from 19th June 2024.

A few weeks into the election campaign, we cut through the noise to firmly put cancer care on the agenda with a breaking story uncovering how UK cancer care lags behind comparable European countries, and profiling some of your first-hand experiences too. 

This story secured over 100 pieces of coverage including the front page of the Telegraph and reached as many as 31 million people across the UK. It’s been talked about by Victoria Derbyshire, Rory Stewart, Dr Anisha and the Prime Minister himself, when he was grilled about it live on LBC News!


To help it spread further, we also launched a vox pop video on social media engaging tens of thousands more. Crucially, we’ve seen an influx of people visiting our website following the coverage, who would have been able to learn more about the support we provide and how to get involved

Speaking up again and again

As well as those big moments, we’ve been right there responding whenever cancer has (or hasn’t!) been part of this election journey – and offering our platforms to some of you, our campaigners, to share your own powerful experiences with the world. Whether it was the fleeting mention of cancer in the first TV debate or the publication of shocking new Cancer Waiting Times data when we were able to profile the experiences of mother and daughter, Rosemary and Jackie.  

We’ve also joined coalitions to unite on vital issues, such as with Trussell Trust and Joseph Rowntree Foundation as part of their ‘Essentials Guarantee’ campaign, calling for the basic rate of Universal Credit to at least cover the cost of essentials like food, household bills and travel costs. 

What we need to see next

On Thursday 4 July, the UK will head to the polls. Whoever wins this election, they’ll have a long to-do list of promises to deliver on, but together we can make sure improving cancer care is high on their priority list. 

We’ll be following up with MPs and Ministers as they’re appointed and be identifying key ways we can influence them together in the coming months. Below are three things you can do to help now.

How you can help this General Election

Together, we can keep cancer on the agenda for the next government, and see cancer care transformed so everyone, wherever or whoever they are, gets the very best support. Here’s three ways you can help:   

1. Join our campaign network 

In the weeks following the results, we’ll be sharing easy, simple steps you can take to make cancer care a priority for the next government. Simply sign up to our short email updates today and you’ll be the first to hear how you can help. 

2. Share your story 

Do you have a story to share about how cancer has affected you? Telling your story - as much or as little as you are comfortable with - can help others feel less alone, and even help influence the next government to improve cancer services. Whether your cancer care or treatment has been impacted by delays or underfunding, or you're an NHS professional struggling to keep up – we would love to explore how we can work together and help make a difference. Email us at 

3. Make your vote count! 

Make sure you vote on 4 July. Polling stations are open 7am-10pm. If you have a medical emergency, disability or have lost your photo ID – and you’re in England, Scotland or Wales – you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote until 5pm on the day of the election. 

Got questions? We want to hear from you! Email us at