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Cancer52 response to the Major Conditions Strategy Strategic Framework

September 2023


The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) published an interim case for change and strategic framework as part of the Major Conditions Strategy on 14 August 2023. The document sets out the evidence underpinning the strategy and provides an overview of initial plans for action over the next five years.


The Major Conditions Strategy is a significant shift away from single disease strategies. Whilst Cancer52 recognises the direction of travel towards an integrated approach and alignment with the 5-year ICS planning cycle there remain specific challenges for rare and less common cancers which could become less visible in such a broad approach.


In 2017, there were 366,457 new cancer cases in the UK. Of these 53% were breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancers, and 47% were rare and less common cancers, as defined by Cancer52. Deaths from rare or less common cancers in England are more common than the four most common cancers combined.(1) The percentage of deaths from rare or less common cancers has risen from 53% in 2001 to 55% in 2017.(1)


It is especially important to address health disparities that patients with rare and less common cancers face, and which the Strategy addresses in place of the planned Health Disparities white paper. Cancer52 is calling for a Rare and Less Common Cancers taskforce and a lead for rare and less common cancers in Cancer Alliances. We believe this type of national and local accountability will allow the ambitions of the Major Conditions Strategy to be delivered for all patients.

1. Cancer52 (2020). Getting a Better Deal for Rare and Less Common Cancers. Available at: https://www.cancer52.org.uk/ single-post/2019/07/10/-getting-a-better-deal-for-people-with-rare-and-less-common-cancers-what-we-can-learn-fro.

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