World Cancer Day continues to ‘Close The Care Gap’ as recruitment to Scottish studies grows
2nd February 2024
World Cancer Day, taking place this Sunday (4 February), is aiming to ‘recognise the power of working together’ as Scotland’s cancer study participation continues to grow
The annual awareness day looks to inspire action and drive momentum in a bid to better understand and recognise inequalities in cancer care around the globe.
Close The Care Gap is the 2024 theme once more, further extending the campaign which began in 2022. This year focuses on the ability of all “to make a difference, large or small” by celebrating real-world progress and playing a “part in creating a cancer-free world.”
Helping to fulfil that aim, figures from NHS Research Scotland (NRS) show that participation in cancer studies has grown across the country in the last year, with over 3000 participants taking part in studies – an increase of more than 300 from 2022 figures.
They took part in over 450 cancer studies and spanned a range of cancer types and treatment approaches with all territorial NHS Boards being involved in delivering the studies.
The Scottish Government’s Cancer Strategy 2023 to 2033, developed in collaboration with people with lived experience and wider partners, set out a vision last year “to improve cancer survival and provide excellent, equitably accessible care.” It also committed to building capacity for capacity for research and innovation.
This is vital with around 35,400 people receiving a cancer diagnosis in Scotland each year – equating to more than four people every hour. According to Cancer Research UK, the number of Scottish cases is projected to rise by nearly one fifth to around 42,100 new cases per year in 2040.
In response, robust research is essential to accelerating positive progress. Scotland’s highly developed research infrastructure – including discovery science, Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres, clinical research networks, data safe havens and accredited tissue biorepositories – continues to support the delivery of high-quality cancer research across Scotland.
Professor Jeff Evans, NRS Cancer Research Champion of the School of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow, and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow, said: “It is exciting to see positive progress being made in patient recruitment, helping to enhance our understanding of this increasingly prevalent disease, while engaging the population and spreading the message.
“With recovery and reform continuing, important strides are being made in collaboration-driven cancer research. Scotland’s unwavering commitment and expertise remains undiminished, and it’s pleasing to see that participation in clinical research activity is increasing, providing invaluable data in the fight against cancer.”
Last year, the DETERMINE (Determining Extended Therapeutic indications for Existing drugs in Rare Molecularly-defined Indications using a National Evaluation platform) trial was launched – the UK’s first national precision medicine trial for rare cancers – with eligible Scots among the first to be offered a place.
In December, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) commenced trials of an artificial intelligence-powered chest X-ray reporting system to help detect lung cancer earlier by identifying abnormalities like masses or lung nodules, in turn allowing clinicians to prioritise urgent cases and streamline patient pathways.
NHS Grampian are leading a study to identify the steps required to bring breast screening technology developed using artificial intelligence into service.
Professor Evans added: “For decades now, trials have helped to fundamentally shape the Scottish landscape for testing new treatments that have become available across Scotland – research is central to our ambitions in that regard for both now and the future.
“World Cancer Day in 2024 is a potent reminder of the power of collaboration and of the necessity of creating innovative, inclusive strategies designed to overcome inequality.
“Every patient in Scotland affected by cancer must have the ability to contribute to, and have the possibility of benefitting from, vital cancer research.”
World Cancer Day organisers the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) believe that its multi-year campaign will produce “more exposure and engagement, more opportunities to build global awareness and ultimately more impact. Together, it’s time to close the care gap in cancer care.”
For more information on NRS Cancer, visit www.nrs.org.uk/cancer.
To find active cancer clinical trials visit www.bepartofresearch.nihr.ac.uk and search by condition, drug, or location.
Join the conversation this World Cancer Day at www.worldcancerday.org or find the campaign on:
- Twitter using #WorldCancerDay #CloseTheCareGap
- Facebook at World Cancer Day - Home | Facebook
- Instagram at World Cancer Day (@worldcancerday) • Instagram photos and videos