Cancer Research Charities predict 46% drop in spending due to Covid-19

The 24th September 2020 marks the first ‘World Cancer Research Day’. Globally, someone is diagnosed with cancer every 2 seconds. World Cancer Research Day celebrates the extraordinary contribution of research to the way we treat cancer, and raises awareness of the importance of ongoing research in making a difference for cancer patients worldwide.

Around the world, countries have been left reeling from Covid-19 in many ways, and research is no exception. At the height of the pandemic in the UK, an estimated 70% of clinical trials and medical research studies were put on hold. Although it is encouraging to see research re-starting across the UK and further afield, the challenge isn’t over. In the months and years to come, the impact of the current crisis on cancer research is likely to be felt by some more than others.

A survey conducted by the National Cancer Research Institute and International Cancer Research Partnership has shown that medical research in the UK could be worse affected than other countries as a result of Covid-19 due to one major factor – charity funding. In the UK, a large proportion of cancer research is funded by third sector organisations. So if charities have less money to spend then it is the cancer research community, and ultimately cancer patients, that will suffer the consequences.

Up to 92% of cancer research charities in the UK are expecting a reduction in their income this year, with some predicting that the situation may worsen in 2021. Naturally this will lead to less funding available for cancer research, with the drop in spending over the next year currently estimated at 46%. Wales, along with the rest of the UK, already has some of the worst outcomes across Europe for many common cancers. We cannot afford to fall further behind.

At Cancer Research Wales, we have a long history of funding innovative cancer research. To date, we have invested £20m in world-class research for the prevention, early diagnosis and better treatment of cancer. Thanks to research, more people in Wales are surviving cancer than ever before.

Within the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, the first celebration of World Cancer Research Day is timely – because research is needed now more than ever.

Ann Tate, CEO of Cancer Research Wales said:

“World Cancer Research day offers us an excellent opportunity to reflect on the power of cancer research to make a difference to people’s lives. We are proud of the impact our research has had for cancer patients in Wales, and want to continue making a difference for patients and their families in future.”

With so many organisations predicting a loss in income due to Covid-19, and a projected drop of over 40% in medical research funding by charities over the next year, Mrs Tate explains why the need for funding of cancer research has never been greater.

“Here in Wales, hundreds of cancer patients face critical delays to their diagnosis and treatment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which will ultimately result in more lives being lost to cancer.

We at Cancer Research Wales are committed to funding world-class research to create a better future for cancer patients in Wales. Now more than ever, we rely on the generosity of the people of Wales to raise vital funds to help ensure fewer patients face the fear and heartbreak of cancer for many years to come.”

Investing in cancer research today, gives hope for a better tomorrow. If you’d like to support the work of Cancer Research Wales, you can donate, visit our events pages or contact us on crw@wales.nhs.uk.