Tackling cancer inequalities – a global approach

Mon, 18 Oct 2021 09:43:00 BST

Researchers at the University are developing innovative ways of tackling health inequalities that exist in cancer detection, provision and care, across the planet.

Cancer is one of the University’s five research beacons, examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally – accounting for an estimated one in six deaths in 2018. Regardless of where a diagnosis is made, a commonality is that incidence and mortality of all cancers combined are higher in people living within the most deprived areas compared to those from the least deprived.

This physical, emotional and financial strain on individuals, families, communities and health systems, least resourced to cope with it, represents a health inequality, wherever the diagnosis is made.

In countries where health systems are strong, survival rates of many types of cancers are improving thanks to accessible early detection, quality treatment and survivorship care but in low-and middle-income countries, many health systems aren’t as able to manage this burden, meaning large numbers of cancer patients do not have access to timely quality diagnosis and treatment.

Equally however, closer to home, the impact of social economic deprivation on cancer rates is being felt, with Manchester specifically, seeing the death toll from cancer around 10 per cent higher than the UK average, and with these deaths, occurring in the most disadvantaged communities.

Our researchers are committed to tackling such health inequalities wherever they exist, to help improve the life chances of those affected by cancer.

By sharing knowledge that looks at adapting treatments to make them available for all those who need it, but who are limited by their healthcare systems, to thinking differently at how to reach more difficult to reach communities here in the UK, we are helping to improve cancer survival outcomes wherever they are needed across the globe. Here a couple of examples of our work.

Transforming lung cancer detection

A new scheme pioneered at Manchester is transforming lung cancer screening and giving patients a better chance of surviva

Transforming radiotherapy care pathways in Sri Lanka

Radiotherapy researchers at Manchester are working with colleagues in Sri Lanka to increase access to affordable treatment and improve outcomes for patients with bladder cancer.

For more information on please contact Kate Tidman, Research Communications & Engagement Manager.