Sector Review – Punching Below Our Weight – Cancer Prevention

Published: 1 February, 2024 | Category: Cancer Prevention Action Week Policy

To commemorate World Cancer Day 4th February 2024, we are publishing our latest report “Punching Below Our Weight: A Review of the Cancer Charity Sector’s Attitudes to Cancer Prevention”, in which we review almost 50 organisations in the cancer charity sector for their attitudes to cancer prevention.

Although a widespread commitment to prevention exists among cancer charities, prevention is often outcompeted by other priorities, particularly by care and treatment issues that can be more immediately relevant to the beneficiaries. When charities do campaign on prevention, their work tends to focus on secondary prevention, by campaigning for improved detection of cancer, or primary prevention in the form of information and awareness-raising work to shape individual choices. Primordial prevention, which requires structural change at a societal level, rarely features.

From the perspective of individual charities, these choices are entirely understandable. However, our report sets out how we could develop a stronger approach to prevention in the sector. Based on the input we received from the sector, we propose three core elements for the sector’s policy approach on prevention:

a. Stronger emphasis on primordial prevention emphasising social and environmental conditions including regulatory and other legal changes

b. Continued emphasis on the need for improved public health and prevention services

c. Stronger focus on solutions that will modify commercial behaviours.

For more information on the results from this wide-ranging review, the links to the review itself and its executive summary are given below: