Cancer Research UK is an awareness and research charity organisation that was formed by the merger of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and The Cancer Research Campaign in early 2002. The charity’s main aim is to contribute towards the reduction of deaths as a result of cancer. It is the largest independent cancer research charity in the world, supporting and funding research on how to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Cancer Research UK supports research by its employees and also grants funds to those interested in performing research. Additionally, the charity runs awareness campaigns aimed at influencing policy.
In the 1970s, less than 25 percent of people with cancer survived. Thanks to research and more concerted efforts into tackling the disease over the next four decades, that number has more than doubled. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to continue improving the research and ensure as much as 75 percent of those affected survive the disease within the next two decades. The long-term vision of the charity is to champion the day when cancer becomes a curable disease.
To accomplish this vision, Cancer Research UK has placed its focus on a number of key areas: prevention measures, early diagnosis, development of new treatments, and the optimisation of current treatments. The charity is supportive of research into all forms of cancer, regardless of age group. It has increased research into areas such as early diagnosis and hasn’t shied away from hard-to-treat cancers such as brain tumours, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Making progress on cancer research requires significant funding and Cancer Research UK is looking to invest £50 million a year on research. The increased investment aims to encourage innovation and collaboration within the research community on some of the biggest scientific challenges. Smoking has already been identified as one of biggest causes of cancer, with the charity working to protect children against picking up the habit and helping people to quit.
Supporting the Cause
Cancer Research UK understands the need to get more involved in supporting its noble cause. It relies on the generosity of its supporters, which vary from institutions to individuals such as Ali Seytanpir. Mr. Seytanpir actively takes part in all fundraising activities for the charity, which include fundraisers and 5k runs.
There are various ways in which individuals can support Cancer Research UK. Giving money is one way to do it. Donations from as little as £2 are welcome. The contribution of goods at one of the charity’s shops can go a long way towards providing the treatment that people so desperately need. Lastly, the charity also accepts the gift of time. It is through the support of campaign ambassadors that the charity was able to secure a £23 million investment from the Government to put into radiotherapy treatment.
One way through which Cancer Research UK has made progress in building awareness is through political campaigning. More specifically, the charity has engaged in various campaigns to lobby key decision makers in the UK and European Union to make cancer research a key priority. Notable campaigns that the charity has engaged in include the call to have the Government train and employ more NHS staff; the drive to reduce obesity in Scotland; and another to accomplish a “smoke-free UK.” In 2015, Cancer Research UK was successful in having more than 90,000 people sign a petition to have Members of Parliament vote in favour of plain cigarette packs, which would make smoking less attractive to young people and keep them from starting the habit.
Individuals can sign up to become Cancer Campaign Ambassadors who help raise awareness in their local communities.