Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Amazing Cancer Research UK

I think the world knows of my great passion for Cancer Research UK by now. I am immensely proud to be part of such an incredible charity. I have learnt so much about the charity since becoming involved and I thought I should share this knowledge with you. You never know, it may ignite a passion within you too!

The History:
The Cancer Research Fund was set up on July 4th 1902 by a concerned group of doctors and surgeons eager to do something to help ease the suffering caused by cancer. At the time there were no independent UK institutions dedicated to researching the causes and treatment of cancer and the fund became the first UK specialist cancer research charity. It was soon renamed the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF).

The first labs were set up in Victoria and in five years they gained four research scientists, six volunteers’ scientific workers and fourteen lab technicians. The ICRF continued to grow and moved to several premises over the years. The ICRF funded research into cancer all across the UK and were working hard to understand the “nuts and bolts” of cancer.

During the 1920’s, a group of medical professionals and scientists decided to focus more on the clinical research side of things and they formed a new charity which was named the British Empire Cancer Campaign but was later renamed the Cancer Research Campaign. In 2002, the CRC and then ICRF merged to form Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK now has five institutes across the UK: London, Cambridge, Oxford, Manchester and Glasgow. They also fund a massive range of cancer research projects in many different labs, universities and hospitals across the UK. They are currently developing some “Centres of Excellence” in many major UK cities.

Who, What and Why:
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity specifically dedicated to beating cancer by researching it. Their main aim is to make sure more people are able to survive cancer. They support the work of over four thousand researchers throughout the UK and cutting edge discoveries are made every day.

Cancer Research UK also run high profile campaigns to help make the general public more aware of their health and to help educate people and help them understand cancer. This helps make sure people know how to reduce their risk of developing cancer. Cancer Research UK also lobby’s government to make sure cancer stays at the top of the political agenda (this is where I come in!!)

In May 2007, Cancer Research UK set themselves ten goals for the next decade:
*People will know how to reduce their risk of cancer

*The number of smokers will fall dramatically

*People under seventy five will be less likely to get cancer

*Cancer will be diagnosed earlier

*We will understand how cancer starts and develops

*There will be better treatments with fewer side effects

*More people will survive cancer

*We will especially tackle cancer in low income communities

*People with cancer will get the information they need

*We will continue to fight cancer beyond 2020

Cancer Research UK and their supporters have already started to ensure that cancer is prevented, diagnosed and treated a lot better then it was years ago. Survival rates have doubled in the past four decades and several tens of thousands of possible cancer cases have been prevented.

Cancer ResearchUK played a vital role in the development of tamoxifen which is used to save the lives of thousands of breast cancer patients, temozolomide which is used worldwide to treat brain tumour patients and carboplatin which is one of the most successful cancer drugs ever created.

Myself and my fellow ambassadors have also played a role in helping CRUK dramatically increase the number of lives saved by radiotherapy and we have also played key roles in the huge progress we are making to prevent people from smoking and developing lung cancer which is estimated to prevent FORTY THOUSAND deaths by 2018.

Cancer Research UK has also made huge progress against skin cancer by getting the government to make the use of sunbeds illegal for fewer than eighteens whilst creating screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer. All of this helps to save THOUSANDS of lives every year in the UK.

This is crazy when you consider Cancer Research UK receives NO government funding. All of this is done with the help of the millions of supporters across the UK. That pound you put in a collection box, that £5 you sponsor someone for Race for Life, that badge you purchase….it all goes to ensuring lives are saved across the UK.

Cancer Research UK is an amazing charity. The people that work there are some of the nicest people I have ever met. The scientists, the staff, the campaigners, the volunteers and everyone else involved with the charity do incredible things. I am very lucky to be allowed to do such brilliant things with such inspirational people. It is a very special feeling to know you are part of something that will change people’s lives. Some of my proudest moments have arisen because of the charity and some of the best people in my life have been introduced to me through the charity. 

If you would like to find out more about Cancer Research UK or to find out how you can support the charity, please visit

Together, we will beat cancer

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