Celebrating 20 years of World Cancer Day
4th February 2020
World Cancer Day 2020 takes place on Tuesday 4 February. Since creation of this international campaign in February 2000, progress is evident in many areas - increased political will, technological advancements, research breakthroughs, and greater public understanding of cancer.
However there is still much more to be done, and 2020 marks the midway point of the 3-year ‘I Am and I Will’ campaign - an empowering multi-year campaign built to resonate, inspire change and create long-lasting impact.
In Scotland, it is estimated that two out of five people will develop cancer in their lifetime. It remains a national clinical priority for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland, and a combination of population-based screening programmes, earlier detection, better diagnostic methods and advances in treatments, mean more people in Scotland are surviving cancer than ever before.
The cancer strategy Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action (2016), was published in 2016 and set out a series of priorities including actions to:
- embed research in the ethos of our healthcare services
- give individuals access to, and opportunity to participate in, clinical trials appropriate to their circumstances
- support a clear programme of research targeted at improving outcomes and/or experiences of cancer.
Through investments in the NHS Research Scotland infrastructure, a coordinated network of clinical research expertise, data safe havens and accredited tissue biorepositories facilitate recruitment to cancer studies and the use of tissue and health data in cancer research.
The NRS cancer network is funded by the Scottish Government to support clinical research as an integrated part of cancer care in Scotland. The network is responsible for driving research in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Last year 474 studies were active in Scotland with over 3000 patients taking part. Encouraging engagement and involvement in research helps facilitate the evaluation and introduction of new cancer medicines and modes of treatments for patients; and over the last year:
- Glasgow scientists were awarded a major cash boost from Cancer Research UK to pioneer new radiotherapy technologies and techniques that could help more people survive cancer in the future
- The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (BWOSCC) has been part of a world-wide phase ll clinical trial which has shown that an aggressive form of high precision radiation therapy can greatly increase the lives of patients diagnosed with metastatic tumours (oligometastic) who would once have been considered incurable
- Scientists in Edinburgh were awarded over £12 million from Cancer Research UK and The Brain Tumour Charity to find new ways to treat brain tumours - one of the hardest types of cancer to treat because not enough is known about what starts and drives the disease and there are challenges with translating discoveries in the lab to treatments for patients
- A new trial for patients with advanced cancer opened, aimed at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life for patients with advanced lung, pancreatic or ovarian cancer
- Ovarian cancer drug olaparib was approved in Scotland as new treatment. Professor Charlie Gourley from the CRUK Edinburgh Centre was UK lead of the pivotal SOLO-1 clinical trial that helped to approve olaparib as maintenance treatment for patients with advanced ovarian cancer and brought new hope to ovarian cancer patients
- A £6 million fund from Cancer Research UK announced to boost number of Scots doctors involved in cancer research
- A global phase III study for patients with untreated advanced gastric and gastroesophageal cancer was led in the UK by Professor Russell Petty from Ninewells Hospital, NHS Tayside.
- University of Aberdeen scientist received a major award to develop a new way to treat prostate cancer
This presents a small snapshot of investments and advances in cancer trials in Scotland. Professor David Cameron, NRS Cancer Research Champion, Professor of Oncology, University of Edinburgh, Director of Cancer Services, NHS Lothian and recently appointed chair of the Breast International Group, comments:
“Research is critical to improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Scotland has great expertise in cancer research and strategic investments in genomics and precision medicine provide new opportunities for cutting-edge research.
“Our strong infrastructure, unified health system, e-health records and strong record of collaboration maximise Scotland’s potential as a destination for world-leading clinical research.
“This, in turn, increases opportunities for patients to participate in trials and benefit from the improved results that will bring.”
People can contribute to the success of World Cancer Day. Every post, share or tweet helps raise the profile of cancer in people’s minds, in the world’s media and on the global health and development agenda – use #WorldCancerDay #IAmAndIWill.
For more information visit www.worldcancerday.org