Will the NHS Long Term Plan Help Decrease the Cancer Death Gap?

Towards the end of 2018, it was suggested that there is a growing gap between the death rates of cancer patients living in deprived parts of Wales, compared to those living in richer areas (BBC News). Latest trends show that death rates are falling across the entirety of Wales, however this is largely down to declines in wealthier areas, rather than poorer areas.

Identifying the cause of cancers is therefore an ongoing battle, with new issues being discovered all the time. Researchers at Cardiff University have recently identified a new protein, LYN, and want to see how they can target it in improved cancer treatments. Their study included the use of Triple Negative, an aggressive type of breast cancer which is resistant to hormone therapy and is found in approximately 15% of breast cancer cases. It was found that the LYN protein affected the aggressive cancer, so when treated, the cancer could be altered. They discovered that interfering with a LYN protein’s function allowed them to kill off mutant BRCA1 cells.This could potentially pave the way for more effective cancer diagnoses, as specialists will be able to identify the cancer and formulate the best possible therapy to match it.

Data from the Office of National Statistics has proven that if cancers are diagnosed in stages 1-3, the one-year survival rates are significantly higher than those diagnosed in stage 4.  As a result, the NHS’ long term plan has outlined plans of commitment to diagnosing cancers at an earlier stage. It was released that an extra £20.5 billion a year will be made available to the NHS in order to create a service fit for the future (Gov.uk). So studies such as Professor Zoë Winters’, who is talking about the use of breast conserving surgery in cancer treatment at the European Oncology Convention, will become commonplace in the future.

Taking the NHS’ new 10 year plan and developments in cancer treatments into consideration, you could predict that the gap between death rates in poor and affluent areas would start to decrease. It’s no surprise that the gap has been widening of late, with the NHS’ budget being stretched to unsustainable levels. Rural areas often suffer as the poorest areas, so the extra budget should be used to fund rural hospitals, as this is where the biggest issues are occuring.

The European Oncology Convention will therefore be a hub for all new and developing technologies in the industry, with leading oncologists speaking about specialised topics at the forefront of the profession. This is the perfect example of how the convention plans on creating an education stream, which will teach attendees about issues surrounding the sector.

The event takes place at the NEC in Birmingham on the 26th and 27th March, running alongside the rest of the Prysm Medical Portfolio, so register for your free tickets at the top of the page to guarantee your place.