Slowing of cancer survival rate improvement reinforces need for Cancer Strategy, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said that the long-term slowdown in improvement in UK cancer survival rates demonstrated by Cancer Research UK reinforces the need for a Cancer Strategy in Northern Ireland to be swiftly implemented.

Health Paula Bradshaw

The South Belfast MLA, who is also Chair of the All-Party Group on Cancer at Stormont, has said: "Unfortunately Northern Ireland ranked lowest of 17 jurisdictions in a recent survey of trends in cancer survival rates, and the evidence that cancer survival rates slowed down across the UK during the 2010s in comparison with the first decade of this century reinforces the need to catch up swiftly.


"Clearly, the key to improving survival rates is early diagnosis and intervention, but we also have to ensure that adequate pathways are in place for the right treatment in the right place.


"Jurisdictions which have performed best at enhancing cancer survival rates are those which have rolling Cancer Strategies, providing plans for improvement and basing learning on ongoing experience with all-party political buy-in. Northern Ireland should be ideally placed, therefore, to develop and implement such strategies and demonstrate significant improvement over the coming years.


"We also need to work hard on areas such as vaccination and screening where in some cases, such as with cervical cancer, we could eliminate cancers entirely.


"However, we should be very clear about the need for an overarching Cancer Strategy to enable joined-up working and learning, so that we can reverse the trend and greatly enhance cancer survival rates during the second half of the 2020s."