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How the CRUK manifesto affects the brain tumour community

CRUK has just launched a manifesto with five priority actions for the next government. We take a look at how they align with the needs of the brain tumour community.

A carer hugs a cancer patient, representing the CRUK manifesto

Last week, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) launched their manifesto for cancer research and care ahead of the next general election. In it, they list five missions each with priority actions for the first 100 days and the first year of the next government.

It’s ambitious but also achievable – the markers of a good manifesto. Let’s take a closer look and see the ways it could possibly help our community with cancerous brain tumours.

The five missions that CRUK think the Government should be looking at are:


Cancer research could be the “beating heart” of scientific research in the UK. But, to achieve this we need to see sustainable biomedical research funding, an effective clinical trials landscape and incentives for industry to invest and develop in new products.

We know research into brain tumours is difficult and faces specific barriers. This is something we know needs to change. Although the CRUK manifesto is very broad and will improve the overall landscape, we need to ensure that more is done to improve the situation for research into brain tumours as well.


For many other cancers, prevention is going to be the key focus. However, we know that only a very small percentage of brain tumours are preventable so this part of the CRUK manifesto doesn’t really apply to our community.

Prevention is such a big priority in the cancer sector and rightly so. But we need to make sure that cancers that are not preventable dont get forgotten.

Early diagnosis

The third area for CRUK’s manifesto is early detection and inequalities. They concentrate on ensuring more cancers being diagnosed in stage one or two and improving screening programmes that focus on addressing inequalities. Again this is something that is less relevant to brain cancers as we do not have a staging system like other cancers and there is no screening programme.

If you’d like to find out more about the specific barriers and recommendations we have for improving brain tumour diagnosis, read our faster diagnosis report here.

Testing innovations and workforce capacity

Bringing tests, treatments and innovations to patients more quickly concentrates mostly on diagnostic testing and capacity. It also highlights that workforce capacity must go hand in hand with any increase in diagnostic machines.

We absolutely support this and it is something we spoke about extensively in our faster diagnosis report. One of our main recommendations is that more money must be allocated towards the development of clinical diagnostic tests for brain tumours but also that more GPs should have the ability to directly order MRIs and CTs for people experiencing concerning symptoms.

Much like CRUK, we recognise that any increase in diagnostic tools and testing should absolutely be accompanied with increased workforce capacity. Having welcomed the government’s long-term workforce plan earlier this year, we’re yet to see further progress on this. It’s therefore excellent to see the CRUK manifesto clear on both ensuring innovations in diagnostic tests are made more readily available and increasing workforce capacity.

Bringing together the community

The final mission for CRUK is about bringing together NHS leaders, policymakers, researchers, charities and patient groups in a strategic way to bring the manifesto to life. They call upon the next government to reinstate plans for a 10 Year Cancer Plan, which we would welcome.

CRUK’s manifesto is excellent and covers some really important areas, many of which we align with and are fully supportive of. At the launch event on Tuesday, Michelle Mitchell, CRUK’s Chief Executive, specifically talked about how they recognise that some cancers have seen a distinct lack of progress over the years and named brain cancer as one of those.

It was incredibly heartening to hear that we’re being recognised as a cancer that needs a specific focus by one of the biggest players in the sector.

We know that brain cancers are considerably more complex than lots of other cancers. They don’t fit neatly into many of the cancer programmes run by the NHS. But we also know that not all brain tumours are cancerous.

This means that any work that focuses solely on cancer will always leave out large swathes of our community. We’ll continue to work alongside CRUK to ensure our differences are recognised so we can achieve changes together that will benefit the entire brain tumour community.