Don’t underestimate the value of a good experience

Last year the number of people living with cancer in the UK was estimated at 2.5 million. And assuming that all existing trends continue, this number is projected to increase to 4 million by 2030. At Macmillan, we think this makes it more important than ever to ensure cancer patients not only get the most appropriate treatment, but that they also have a good experience of care.

All patients should have a positive experience of care and be treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect throughout their cancer journey, regardless of who they are or where they live. While an extreme example, the shocking events at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust showed that too many people were not being treated with dignity and respect: patient experience was not a priority. This is despite the NHS Mandate clearly stating that it aims for a health service ‘where compassionate care and patient experience are as important as clinical outcomes’.

Because support for people affected by cancer is central to everything that we do at Macmillan, we want to see patient experience as a priority. Unfortunately, our evidence shows that across the NHS, patient experience is still not regarded as having equal importance as clinical outcomes and that there is unacceptable levels of variation in patient experience.

Experts we’ve spoken to tell us that this is because patient experience is not meaningfully prioritised at all levels of the system.  For example, when hospital boards raised patient experience as an agenda item, only 5% of these items had further actions attached to them.

We can see the knock-on effects of this in the results of the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (NCPES) for England. This survey is an opportunity for patients to voice how they felt about the care they received and in so doing, provide valuable feedback to hospitals about what is working well and what isn’t. This can then be used to drive meaningful improvement on the ground.

Unfortunately, what recent survey data has shown is that there is a lot of room for improvement. A snapshot of the 2015 NCPES found that 1 in 5 did not have a good overall experience of care and more than one in 10 patients felt they weren’t always treated with dignity and respect.

The Independent Cancer Taskforce published its Cancer Strategy for England in July last year, setting out its recommendations for how to improve cancer care over the next 5 years. One of the recommendations was that a metric, or set of metrics, was developed “that would encourage providers and commissioners to focus more consistently on improving people’s experiences of their care, treatment and support”.

Macmillan lobbied for this recommendation on the basis that embedding a metric in accountability mechanisms sets out clearly that patient experience is a national priority, and pushes NHS England, hospitals and others to do more to improve how people living with cancer experience their care.

This is the first time that it has been recognised at a national level that how someone experiences their care can be just as important as the result of their treatment. Patient experience now sits alongside other key indicators of cancer care quality – such as one-year survival and cancer waiting times – in the CCG Local Improvement and Assessment Framework as well as the Cancer Dashboard.

We believe this is a critical first step in being able to reach the aim set out in the NHS Mandate to make compassionate care and patient experience as important as clinical outcomes.

Now we want to see this become a reality for every cancer patient. That means NHS England needs to start thinking about how it can go beyond the metric and use the data and information on patient experience to drive meaningful year on year improvement in patient experience. This requires action at all levels – from each individual healthcare professional, to hospital boards and trusts, commissioners and system leaders and only then will patients really experience an improvement in their care.

Victoria Woods, Senior Public Affairs Officer, @vgwoods

Looking forward to 2016 – our influencing wish list for the next 12 months

Thinking about our Christmas wish lists is an exciting prospect, and here at Macmillan top of our list is improving the lives of people affected by cancer.

Following on from our blog about highlights in 2015 we’ve been busy writing a wish-list for 2016, focusing on what we think will could make a huge difference to people affected by cancer over the next 12 months.

  1. A fully funded Cancer Strategy

Achieving World Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015 – 2020 is a very ambitious document which is helping to shape the future of cancer care in the NHS.

But to make sure it doesn’t just sit on the shelf, it needs to be fully funded.

Our recent report, Cancer Cash Crisis, shows that the NHS must spend now to avoid even greater costs later. The increasing number of people living with cancer and trying to cope with the physical and psychological effects of treatment is placing an intolerable strain on health and social care services. Unless we can support cancer survivors to live well, manage their own condition and stay out of hospital this is going to increase.

We believe that implementing the Cancer Strategy, in particular the following priority areas, will address these issues:

  • Ensuring that how well people are living, not just how long they are living after a cancer diagnosis, is measured and used to plan services
  • Patient experience should be accorded equal status with clinical outcomes
  • Ensuring every person with cancer in England has access to the cancer Recovery Package
  • The creation of new regional cancer specific organisations, known as Cancer Alliances, to develop local expertise and help integrate services

It provides a great call to action to introduce improvements for people living with cancer, but without the right funding these promises for positive change will go unfulfilled.

  1. True choice at end of life

Next on the list, we want choice at the end of life to remain a priority and the Choice Review’s recommendations to be fully implemented.

The challenge of delivering consistently good end of life care is growing, but, unfortunately, choice at the end of life is still too often unavailable. By 2035, around 550,000 people will die each year in England, compared to approximately 450,000 currently.[1]

The time to prioritise quality end of life care is now. We will continue to call on the government to implement the choice review, and realise their manifesto commitment on end of life care.

  1. Access to crucial financial support

Research we published earlier this month found that almost 170,000 people with cancer in Britain are unable to celebrate special family events such as Christmas and birthdays because of a lack of money.

We know that 83% of people living with cancer are £570 worse off per-month as a result of their diagnosis and it is an unfortunate reality that many people with cancer will feel cold and lonely this Christmas because of the financial impact of their disease. That’s why it’s essential that people affected by cancer continue to receive appropriate support through the welfare system.

We are therefore calling on the Government to urgently reverse plans in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill which would cut £125 a month from thousands of people who have been medically assessed as too ill to work, including those who have had a cancer diagnosis. You can find out more about the campaign and how to support it here.

2015 was a great year for innovative ideas about cancer care, with both the Choice Review and a new Cancer Strategy being published. But the work can’t stop here. A fully funded Cancer Strategy, quality care at the end of life and reform to welfare for people affected by cancer are our top strategic priorities, but we will also work to support people affected by cancer in many other ways, and on a range of other issues, over the next year. We look forward to continuing to be vocal for people affected by cancer into 2016 and beyond.

And finally, a very merry Christmas and a happy new year from everyone here at the Macmillan Policy team!


[1] Office for National Statistics. National Population Projections, 2012-based Statistical Bulletin. November 2013. Available at

Our influencing highlights from 2015…

With December in full swing, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Our advent calendars are open, there’s tinsel up in the Macmillan office and Christmas songs on the radio.

But while we’re all busy looking ahead to the festive season and what’s in store for next year, we’ve taken some time to reflect on 2015 and share our highlights from the last 12 months.

Cancer Strategy 2015

The opportunity to influence a national cancer strategy doesn’t come around every year, so we were thrilled when NHS England announced the creation of a new independent Cancer Taskforce to address cancer care over the next five years.

Its report, Achieving World Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015-2020, was published in July and showed real ambition and focus. Macmillan sat on the Taskforce and, together with many other members of the cancer community, helped to agree on an ambitious plan for world class cancer care. Crucially it acknowledges that the job of the NHS isn’t just to treat the disease but also to enable people to live healthy, fulfilling and productive lives after treatment.

More work is needed to ensure that the recommendations from the strategy can be translated into action, but with this strong blueprint in place we are confident that the next five years will bring positive changes for people with cancer.

The General Election

The 2015 general election seems like a long time ago now, but back when the outcome of May 7th was still uncertain Macmillan was busy campaigning across the political spectrum.

Our aim was to ensure that the interests of people affected by cancer were at the heart of every manifesto. By the time of the election, each main political party had committed to improving the lives of people affected by cancer in their manifestos.

The Conservative Party, who are now tasked with putting their election promises into practice, committed to deliver the new cancer strategy; offer safe and compassionate care where all people are treated with dignity and respect; and support commissioners to combine better health and social care services for the terminally ill so that more people are able to die in a place of their choice.

We look forward to holding government to account for the delivery of these promises over the course of this parliament, and helping MPs to continue to push for progress to improve cancer care.

Nationwide – Specialist Support Service

Macmillan have sought to address the financial implications of cancer for a long time, as we recognise that for some people affected money can be a big cause of concern.  In 2014 we published a policy report aimed at the banking industry called Counting on Your Support, which set out 9 key recommendations for how they could improve the service they provide to people affected by cancer. But we didn’t want to just show people how they could improve, we wanted to help ensure that these recommendations were put into practice. So this year teams across Macmillan, including Policy, have worked with Nationwide to do just that. The result is the Nationwide Specialist Support Service –which provides a bespoke case managed service for Nationwide customers affected by cancer, to help them manage their financial affairs based on their individual needs, ranging from immediate requests for support to the longer-term management of financial difficulties.

The Benefits System

As well as working with banking providers, Macmillan has also campaigned to ensure people with cancer get the support they need from the benefits system.

We’ve long been calling on the Government to reduce waiting times for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – a benefit many people with cancer rely on.  In January 2015 the Government heeded Macmillan’s calls to publish waiting times for the benefit – something they had previously refused to do – and in June published figures showing waiting times had been reduced to 11 weeks.

This represents significant progress from the situation in summer 2014, when waiting times where as high as 40 weeks – a huge delay which had a devastating impact on many people affected by cancer.  We continued to influence on welfare throughout the rest of 2015 and it is also an area of focus for 2016. You can find out more, and sign up to support our campaign, here.

Later this week we’ll be posting our wish list for 2016, and in particular what we will be focusing on over the next year – so look back soon for more details on our future priorities!

Urgent care services are overstretched – we need to fund the cancer strategy now

10 December, 2015
Juliet Bouverie, Director of Services & Influencing  |  @julietbou

This piece first appeared in the Health Service Journal

As the dust settles following last month’s spending review, the NHS has to get down to the nitty gritty of how the precious early investment of £3.8bn is spent.

One area in desperate need of attention is cancer care, which poses a series of stark challenges for the NHS, both now and in years to come, according to Cancer Cash Crisis, a new report out this week from Macmillan Cancer Support.

Let’s start with how money is currently spent. New figures in the report show we are spending more than £500m a year on inpatient emergency care for people diagnosed with the top four cancers alone. Of this, at least £130m is spent on care more than six months after a person’s diagnosis, when initial treatment would usually have finished, but before their last year of life.

After successful treatment, people should be looking forward to getting their life back on track. Instead, many find they bounce back into hospital because they aren’t given the right care and support.

Care beyond treatment

Future prospects are perhaps even more alarming. With more people than ever surviving years or even decades after a cancer diagnosis, the NHS will need enough funding to provide care and support far beyond initial treatment.

As the number of people living with cancer in England rises from 2 million in 2015 to 3.4 million by 2030, this demand will become ever more acute.

New figures in the report show that care beyond treatment for people living with cancer will rise to at least £1.4bn per year by 2020, with £1bn being spent on consequences of treatment, such as side effects from drugs, as well as long term after effects.

Over the next five years, the growth in care beyond treatment amounts to a cumulative increase of more than £600m.

Budget burden

This is a significant chunk out of tight NHS budgets. Unless action is taken now, we will continue to see money being spent inefficiently and we will see the burden on an already overstretched emergency care services grow further.

Our health system cannot continue to assume that the needs of people living with cancer finish when initial treatment does – this is bad for the individual and a false economy for the NHS.

We must place as great an emphasis on supporting people to live well as we do on early detection and survival.

People’s needs are more complex now than ever before. As well as those living with the long term consequences of cancer and its treatment, increasing numbers of people will live with incurable but treatable cancer for several years.

Add in the fact that we currently have an estimated 1.4 million people with cancer in England who have at least one other long term condition, and suddenly providing care and support for this growing number of people starts to look like an almost insurmountable challenge.

Pressing strategy

What is the solution? Early diagnosis is certainly a key component, but it is by no means a magic bullet. For example, new figures released this week reveal that for the 40,000 women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer each year, the cost of inpatient care during diagnosis and initial treatment (£155m) is dwarfed by the £250m spent on inpatient hospital care after their initial cancer treatment ends.

This challenges the notion that patients’ outcomes, as well as the costs of care, can be improved through early diagnosis alone.

If the NHS is to get a grip on this dramatic collision of public spending and public need, the cancer strategy for England must be fully funded and implemented at the earliest possible opportunity.

Recommendations in the strategy, such as the rolling out of a recovery package, including a holistic needs assessment and other key interventions, such as a treatment summary and cancer care review, are vital steps that need to be taken if we are to help people live well beyond a cancer diagnosis.

Wise investment

When delivered together, these interventions can help to contain the rising tide of costs and significantly improve coordination of care and patient outcomes, including better and earlier identification of consequences of treatment, better management of co-morbidities, help with staying at or returning to work, and support with healthy lifestyles.

Funding the cancer strategy for England’s recommendations will not be cheap – it will cost an estimated £400m a year between now and 2020. But it will be a wise investment.

Investing early, followed by delivery of the savings identified by the strategy’s recommendations, would result in a £420m lower cumulative spend by the NHS over the next five years than failing to fund it at all. Worse still, delayed funding and late implementation of the strategy would actually cost about £100m more by the end of this parliament than doing nothing at all.

The cancer story will continue to shift with time and new solutions will constantly have to be found. Through the cancer strategy, the NHS has a chance to shape this story for the near future.

The health service has to be brave and invest now, so that we can improve lives and make every penny count.

George Osborne

Five thoughts on what the Chancellor’s spending review means for people affected by cancer

1 December, 2015
James Shield, Senior Policy Analyst  |  @jshield
Victoria Woods, Senior Public Affairs Officer  |  @vgwoods

It was widely reported last week that George Osborne has committed billions of pounds of ‘extra’ money for the NHS over the next five years as part of his Comprehensive Spending Review. But what is the bigger picture for healthcare, social care and welfare, and what will the announcements mean for people affected by cancer?

1. Extra funding for the NHS is welcome – but it needs to be spent wisely

It is good to hear the government is investing in the NHS’s plan for the next five years, and that £3.8bn extra will go into the NHS next year; our creaking health service badly needs this money now.

But three quarters of England’s hospitals are now running a deficit, which by the end of the year is expected to hit £2bn. We have seen the impact of this pressure on frontline cancer services: cancer waiting time targets have now been missed for seven quarters in a row. In the short term, the extra money will help to plug the black hole in NHS balance sheets, which we hope will mean getting back on track with meeting existing targets.

It is now crucial that the government spends wisely and fully funds and implements the cancer strategy for England which will be transformational for cancer care. Although the cancer strategy was mentioned in the Spending Review, this was only to reiterate a commitment to implement the previously announced recommendations on a new 4-week target for diagnosis and improved diagnostic capacity through £300m in funding.

As we said in October, time is running out: by 2020, there will be half a million more people living with a cancer diagnosis in England than in 2015. The strategies and solutions to support this growing population and avoid further crises have been agreed – what we need now is action. Macmillan will continue to push for the cancer strategy to be implemented in full.

2. We often hear that to have a strong NHS we need a strong economy – but despite extra funding, the NHS is not receiving its fair share of the proceeds of growth

The Government has often said that we need a strong economy to have a strong NHS. The reverse is just as true – we need a strong NHS and a healthy population to have a strong economy. As the economy returns to growth, we should invest in the long-term health of the nation. But on the evidence we saw in the Spending Review, it looks as though health and social care funding are going in the opposite direction.

Billions of pounds of extra money is a big investment, but as the population ages, more treatments become available and more people survive diseases such as cancer, the demand for healthcare could still outpace funding. Even with the additional money, we are now mid-way through the longest decline in NHS funding as a percentage of GDP since the war:

What does this mean for cancer services? The picture is unclear: we don’t yet know how the NHS will use its funding allocation, and will find out more when NHS England’s plans are published in early 2016.

What we do know is that between 2010-2013 spending per cancer patient had already fallen by between 4-10% (the latest figures available).

It can be difficult to know whether healthcare funding necessarily leads to a healthier society, and not all high-spend health services get value for money, but there comes a point where it is clear that more could be done with additional funding, and this is true of cancer.

In comparison with the rest of the world, both our level of healthcare spending and our cancer survival rates fall short. Last week’s announcement means that over the next five years, the share of GDP the UK spends on the NHS will fall even further below European and OECD averages:

3. Cuts to public health and bursaries for nurses are counterproductive

We understand much of the extra £3.8bn for the NHS next year is in fact sourced from a 25% cut to the Department of Health’s non-NHS budget.

It is counterproductive that ‘extra’ NHS money is being sourced from cuts to public health (which includes cancer screening and smoking cessation clinics) and bursaries for student nurses. This precious investment should be used to drive genuine progress – instead, it is being used to paper over the existing cracks.

Local authorities’ public health budgets will also fall by an average of 3.8% in real terms each year. The public health ring-fence will be ‘maintained until 2017/18’, which implies it might not continue afterwards.

This means the Spending Review has failed to meet one of the ‘five tests’ set by the head of the NHS, Simon Stevens, for the Spending Review – to “make good on the public health opportunity”.

4. We’re still concerned about social care funding

Funding the health service is just one side of the coin. The needs of people living with cancer are often life-long, and many require non-medical support to get by.

We are concerned that continuing pressure on social care budgets means that extra funding given to the NHS could end up being spent propping up a cash strapped social care system.

George Osborne announced a new optional levy on council tax of up to 2% per year, which is to be ring-fenced to fund adult social care. But commentators are suggesting that even if this is implemented by every council each year there will still be a substantial funding gap.

Perhaps even more problematic is the risk that access to social care could become more of a postcode lottery and exacerbates health inequalities by disadvantaging councils with weaker tax bases. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, councils such as Manchester, Hackney, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham could only raise an extra 4%, while Richmond and Windsor could raise 17-18%. Meanwhile the King’s Fund warned the measures “are not a substitute for sustainable funding”.

No other advanced economy is reducing the share of national income spent on social care, as the UK is doing. We know that during the first few years of the last parliament’s social care cuts, over 360,000 fewer older people received social care than before. It is difficult to be optimistic about the future of social care against this background.

5. The welfare situation has changed less than the headlines suggest – and we will do all we can to be there for people affected by cancer

One of the big headlines after the Spending Review was the government’s supposed u-turn on its controversial proposals to cut Tax Credits. While we welcome this change because we know many people with cancer use this financial support, this is only a short-term gain, as the same cuts will continue to apply to Universal Credit, which is already being phased in.

Despite talk of u-turns, the impact of tax and social security changes over the next four financial years will be the same as first estimated after the July Budget statement (the poorest 20% will still be around 7% worse off). The Chancellor also reiterated his commitment to implement £12bn of savings, part of which is the already announced cut to ESA WRAG, which we are campaigning to stop.

Macmillan believes it is vital people affected by cancer get the support they need through the social security system, so monitoring and responding to the introduction of Universal Credit will continue to be an important part of our work.

What do you think about the impact of the Spending Review? Let us know in the comments below.

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One year on from the NHS Five Year Forward View: aspiration in the Cancer Strategy, desperation on the front line

Strategies and solutions to avoid further crises have been agreed – what we need now is action

30 October, 2015  |   James Shield, Senior Policy Analyst  |  View all posts  |  @jshield

Left to right: The NHS Five Year Forward View; the Cancer Strategy for England; headlines about missed cancer waiting time targets

The NHS Five Year Forward View (5YFV) – the ‘Stevens plan’ for the future of the NHS – is already a year old. What has the NHS achieved for people affected by cancer since its publication?

On the one hand, we were pleased to see that the 5YFV included a section on cancer, and were proud to be part of the independent taskforce behind a full Cancer Strategy for England, published in July. The whole cancer community came together to agree on an ambitious plan for world class cancer care which, crucially, acknowledges that the job of the NHS isn’t just to treat the disease but also to enable people to live healthy, fulfilling and productive lives after treatment. The report provides a compelling blueprint for change.

However, cancer services have faced an unprecedented struggle over the past year.

Cancer waiting time targets have now been missed for six quarters in a row with no sign of improvement in the near future. The official line from the Department of Health is that this is due to an unexpected increase in the number of people being referred by GPs for tests – but as we explained in March, the trend in referrals ought to have been fairly predictable. Perhaps, as the King’s Fund has suggested, the NHS simply faces an ‘impossible task’ given current constraints on spending and rising demand.

Whatever the cause, the result of this crisis is that people with cancer are having to wait too long for access to treatment and their lives are being put at risk. And  across the country, we know that NHS staff are under more pressure than ever, struggling to find the time they need to meet rising demands and deliver the best patient experience.

Time is clearly running out: by 2020, there will be half a million more people living with a cancer diagnosis in England than in 2015, and the Five Year Forward View is already the Four Year Forward View. The strategies and solutions to support this growing population and avoid further crises have been agreed – what we need now is action.

Macmillan’s priorities are clear. To solve the problem of fragmented responsibility and accountability for cancer care since the Health & Social Care Act was introduced, we need to set up Cancer Alliances. To make sure the NHS delivers what matters most to patients, we need to design new quality of life and patient experience metrics, start collecting the data and hold the system to account for its performance. To make sure the NHS has a cancer workforce fit for the challenges of today as well as the future, we need an urgent strategic review. And to ensure tailored, long-term support for the two million people living with a cancer diagnosis in England – half of whom may live more than 10 years after their diagnosis – we need a national Living With and Beyond Cancer programme.

If the NHS can deliver for cancer, it will position itself well to deliver for everything else. The same themes set out in the Five Year Forward View are also at the heart of the Cancer Strategy – whole-person care, a sustainable workforce model, taking early action to avoid costly care in the future, self-management – and as a rare area of political convergence, it should be possible to gather momentum behind improving cancer care as an early priority. Once these approaches have been implemented and evaluated, they can then be rolled out to release further efficiencies and join up long-term condition management.

If the NHS is to achieve this, and close the gap between the aspiration in our strategies and the desperation on the front line, the recommendations in the Strategy must now be fully funded. Ahead of George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review next month, we are watching very carefully which parts of the Cancer Strategy have gained political and financial backing so far and which have not.

We welcomed Jeremy Hunt’s recent commitments to speed up diagnosis, ensure everyone gets access to a Recovery Package by 2020 and introduce a Quality of Life measure for people with cancer. But we need the government and the NHS to commit publicly – and financially – to initiatives such as the workforce review, Living With and Beyond Cancer programme, Cancer Alliances and accountability for improving patient experience that we know are so vital to improving England’s cancer care services.

We will only be able to say the government’s manifesto commitment to delivering the cancer strategy has been met when these cornerstone initiatives have been fully funded. And in order to deliver world class cancer care in the future, front line services must also be protected and properly funded today. The Department of Health’s settlement in the forthcoming Spending Review must be sufficient to tackle the increasing challenge that cancer care poses. A ‘technical appendix’ of the Five Year Forward View estimated that expenditure on cancer services will need to grow by about 9% a year, reaching £13 billion by 2020/21. The Cancer Strategy recommendations will help place NHS finances on a firmer footing – but its vision can only be realised if recent declines in performance are reversed and existing targets met through investment in the services people need today.

There is much left to do, then, in the remaining years of the 5YFV – and this parliament – to ensure that the 2.5 million people who will be living with a cancer diagnosis in England by 2020 get the best possible care and support. As NHS England’s strategy director has said, doing is harder than writing. We will continue to influence government and policy makers to make sure the 5YFV and the Cancer Strategy result in real improvements.

Cancer Strategy ambitions

The six main ambitions in the Cancer Strategy for England

Better Data. Better Lives.

As the Data Lead, in Macmillan’s Evidence Department, World Statistics Day is right up my street as a chance to geek out in public for the day! The tag line, “Better data. Better lives.”, of World Statistics Day is also a perfect fit to describe the work of my team and one of the reasons why the Macmillan Evidence Department has been growing since the day I joined over five years ago.

I’ve been working with numbers and statistics all my career from monitoring social trends, interrogating census data and now focusing on cancer and health statistics. Yet it wasn’t until I came to Macmillan and first learnt the startling statistic that – in 2010 there were 2 million people living with cancer (Maddams et al., 2009) – that I really saw the use of data and evidence to make change in action. By the way we now estimate there are 2.5 million people living with cancer in 2015 which is rising to 4 million by 2030 (Maddams et al., 2012).

We don’t just stop there. We know how many people are living with cancer but we need to use this alongside other evidence, methods and sources to truly understand their experiences and needs, particularly unmet needs.

One example is the research we carried out to explore the social care needs of people living with cancer (Macmillan, 2015) which won a first prize poster award at this year’s NCIN Cancer Outcomes Conference. We found that the social care needs of people with cancer are far more widespread than expected. Macmillan will be using this research to support our programme of strategic engagement and partnerships with local authorities and other partners, with the aim of improving and better integrating the planning and provision of personal, practical, emotional, and financial care and support for people living with cancer.

Our Rich picture on the 2.5 million people with cancer begins to draw together this and  wider evidence on numbers needs and experiences so that we and our partners can use this knowledge to inform our work, strategy and direction and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer.

In this increasingly evidence hungry environment with a demand for more granular data, ‘big data’ analysis and data visualisation we are already making data and statistics work harder for us, for example:

2.5 million - cut

Excitingly there’s so much more we can do and we have big aspirations on how we use evidence and data (described in this short video) to drive service improvement for people living with cancer so watch this space!

Look out for our tweets on World Statistics Day from @Mac_Evidence for some of the key statistics we produce and use.

Author: Hannah McConnell, Data Lead in the Evidence Department at Macmillan Cancer Support.

Image – 1: Maddams et al., 2012; 2: ‘Five-years’ refers to 2010-2015.


Maddams J, et al. Cancer prevalence in the United Kingdom: estimates for 2008. Br J Cancer . 2009. 101: 541-547.

Maddams J, et al. Projections of cancer prevalence in the United Kingdom, 2010-2040. Br J Cancer. 2012. 107(7): 1195-1202. (Projections scenario 1). Macmillan analysis based on  extrapolation of 2010 and 2020 projections that the number of people living with cancer will hit an estimated 2.5 million in 2015.

Macmillan Cancer Support (2015) Hidden at Home – the social care needs of people with cancer. Bright Blue Research commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support (accessed September 2015)