CancerWatch Sector Review

As a new charity dedicated to campaigning for improved cancer prevention, CancerWatch wants to understand the sector’s existing work and views on prevention. This will help us identify how we can make the biggest difference in improving cancer prevention.

In 2023, we issued a call for evidence to leaders and experts across the cancer and public health sectors, and published a discussion paper to outline our initial thinking.

The report of our findings is titled Punching Below Our Weight: the cancer sector and charity prevention.

Respondents to our call for evidence offered a great deal of valuable insight about the approaches, priorities and preferences of the cancer charity sector. And while we found much excellent work being done, we also found that prevention tends not to be prioritised as heavily as other aspects of many charities’ work, such as care and research.

We identified many valid structural reasons for this. Not all cancers are preventable, while for some the known causal factors are unclear or indirect. Many charities rightly prioritise the concerns of their supporters and beneficiaries, who have already been affected by cancer. And seeking improvement in prevention at the most fundamental level – primordial prevention – is profoundly challenging.

We therefore make five key recommendations:

  1. Leadership to assist the sector in improving prevention
  2. Harnessing the totemic nature of cancer in the public discourse to improve prevention
  3. More unified messaging across charities about prevention
  4. Greater pooling of resources across the sector
  5. Sustained effort on prevention over the long term.


Punching Below Our Weght – Executive Summary

Punching Below Our Weight – Full Report