This led to the health secretary Patricia Hewitt acting upon the campaigners demands for an updated cancer place by confirming the place of cancer at the top of the government’s health agenda at the Britain Against Cancer conference in London.
Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, told the media that there were three main demands:
1. the plan must take account of the projected doubling in 15 years of people over 65, which will increase the number of cancer cases.
2. the issue of expensive medicines and screening techniques must be addressed
3. the impact of constant change in the structure of the NHS on patients must be assessed.
“This needs national debate about what value we place on increasing someone’s survival by a year. That requires some very open discussion. Also, how do we decide what a drug company is allowed to charge for a particular medicine?” he said.