There is a new national survey in the UK relating to cancer. The survey found that cancer treatment is a major priority for English people, and they want more resources to be provided for patients. The study found that about half of British people say cancer is the disease they want better treatments for. Slightly more than half say that curing cancer is the best thing that humans could accomplish in the next thirty years.
Public Resources to Fight Cancer
The study also found widespread support for a national healthcare system funded by tax money. Less than ten percent of the people surveyed oppose universal healthcare. However, more than eighty percent think that the healthcare professionals need more support and resources to give cancer care. Citizens of the UK also think cancer research will not improve after Brexit. Roughly ten percent think it will compared to twenty five percent who think it will not.
The survey was done online. The researchers surveyed 2,000 adults earlier this year. The leader of the research is Professor David Taylor. He says the goal is to improve cancer related outcomes for people of all ages.
Improving International Outcomes
The current budget for healthcare gives less than ten percent to cancer care even though it is very expensive. While the researchers want more of the budget to go to cancer care to help UK citizens, they also hope their research can help cancer patients worldwide. They want to improve outcomes for lung and blood cancers in particular.
Taylor encourages public and private sector investments and international research links. He believes that those factors will help create cheaper cancer treatments all over the world.
Lack of Confidence in the Healthcare System
Almost thirty three percent of the UK is afraid that the national healthcare system would not give them or a family member the best treatment if they did get cancer. A majority also believes that the system does not provide care as good as the best healthcare providers in the world.
Cancer affects people of all ages, but more than half of cancer deaths are of people seventy years and older. These older citizens think they have as much of a right to cancer care as anyone else. Care for all will suffer if the UK economy gets much worse, according to Taylor.
Other Key Findings
There were some other key findings. One is that the people want an increase in early diagnoses, even if it increases the risk of false positives. Another is that the citizens want more teamwork from the public and private sectors because they think that will help cure cancer by the year 2050. The population is more divided about how cancer research should be funded, however. Some think the healthcare system should always take the cheapest option, while others think that the system should pay more to encourage better research.
The British are less willing to help other countries, though. Almost half of the people surveyed did not want their tax money to fund research or care internationally. Less than a quarter actively want aid like that to be given to other countries.
The researchers were given a forum in the House of Lords this week. One of the leaders of the survey, Professor Mark Emberton, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences and Professor of Interventional Oncology at UCL, says that every aspect of cancer care will be getting better in the UK. He believes the key in the future will be selecting the right treatment for each individual and finding a way to counter the cancer’s treatment resistance.
Comparing Cancer to Other Diseases
While fifty percent of people surveyed said they want better protection against cancer, the second most named disease was dementia. However, a majority said that they were more eager to avoid confusion in old age than chronic pain. This shows that people tend to fear the effects of dementia more than that of cancer. The report says that many people feel this way because they do not want to cause trouble for their families that would have to care for them. But these same people said that they would rather have their descendants be protected from cancer than dementia.
Early Diagnosis is the Key
The Head of Policy at Cancer Research UK says that cancer research in the UK is not as good in some of the world’s major countries. More cases are being diagnosed now than ever, and the number continues to grow. The national healthcare system does not have enough people to meet this increasing demand for cancer treatment. The UK will continue to fall behind without government investment in the research.
The Head of Policy stressed that Brexit cannot result in a problem for cancer research if the UK wants to improve treatments. One of the biggest improvements UK scientists are looking to make is diagnosing the cancer cases earlier. Professor Sean Duffy, former National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England, says that early diagnosis is the most important thing we can be working towards.