Should the Government be doing more to beat cancer?

Jordan Booth - Regular Columnist

Image credits: The Conservative Party

Following the recent tragic and high profile deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Terry Wogan all from cancer, should the government be investing more into tackling this terrible disease?

I, like the rest of the world, was shocked on each occasion to hear of the deaths of three legends all in their own respective fields. I was even more shocked, however, to hear that all three had cancer-related deaths. It cannot be right that in 2016 cancer is still such a prolific killer. The fact that one in every three of us will experience cancer at some point in our lives is a terrifyingly astounding statistic. What is worse, according to Cancer Research statistics, in 2010-11, only 50% would survive cancer for 10 or more years. Whilst improvements are being made in terms of cancer survival it is still not enough and we are losing too many to this terrible disease.

Perhaps I am being impatient but I feel that with all the advancements made in science the fact that only 50% survive for more than 10 years shows that the government and indeed the current research is failing. More progress needs to be made and the only way that research can be made is through more government funding. As I was looking at various cancer charities websites they were constantly stressing that they were in need of donations as they were not government funded. It is wrong that charities providing crucial help to those suffering are forced to cut back, or worse, close for good simply because they do not have enough money. It is not just in the UK that more funding needs to be made available, the World Health Organisation said in 2013 that 15.6% of government expenditure was dedicated to health. To me, something as important as health should have a much higher percentage than this.

What the UK government should be doing is supporting their health sector and investing as much as possible in ending horrific diseases such as cancer. However, the government is doing the opposite and is cutting an already under strain NHS. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a Conservative supporter but I cannot agree with any cuts in the healthcare industry. In cutting the NHS the government is only making a cure for cancer more difficult to find as well as delaying and worsening the effects of cancer. If they continue to cut the NHS then we will see many more months such as January 2016 – where the world was shocked as cancer claimed three more victims in Bowie, Rickman and Wogan.

The wider public also have a part to play, it is no use complaining about how horrible cancer is or how more should be done to cure it when the news covers high profile deaths as we saw in January. Constant pressure and action needs to be taken. Lobby the government, speak to your MP, fundraise for these wonderful charities, these are all things you can do long term that will make a real difference.

Finally, finding a cure will evidently not be cheap, but does this matter? You can’t put a price on people’s health. So, in my view, the government should be spending as much as possible to help find a cure for cancer and other horrendous illnesses instead of cutting the NHS – leave that well alone. In cutting the NHS all the government is doing is hindering the elimination of cancer and other diseases.

About Jordan Booth 9 Articles
Jordan is a student at the University of Manchester studying Politics and Modern History about to start his second year in September. After taking an interest in politics about three years ago Jordan has done work experience at the House of Commons for Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley. Earlier this year he was also part of the team that helped Nigel Evans regain his seat in the 2015 General Election. Jordan is particularly interested in British and American politics with an emphasis on political participation and how to get people re-engaged with politics.