Latest figures released from the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) have shown that UK primary bone cancer research investment reduced for a fourth consecutive year in 2019/2020 to its lowest level in 18 years.
Investment by the NCRI partners, which includes Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council and 19 other leading charities and organisations, has continued to fall in recent years despite no significant improvements being made in primary bone cancer patient survival rates.
The total investment made by all NCRI partners, specifically into primary bone cancer, was just £147,462 out of total cancer research investment of over £669 million - that is just 0.02%. This is a year-on-year reduction of 25%. These figures are not only disappointing, they represent a complete neglect for the needs of primary bone cancer patients.
The amount invested in 2019/2020 was just £263 per new bone cancer patient where 5-year survival has not increased in nearly 40 years. Comparatively, £941 was spent for every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient where 5-year survival has doubled in the last 40 years to 85%.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, the Bone Cancer Research Trust’s 2020 research spend was more than double that of all the NCRI partners combined. In the same year, the Bone Cancer Research Trust also committed a further £489,000 to research due to start in 2021.
Dr Zoe Davison, Head of Research, Information & Support at the Bone Cancer Research Trust, said:
It is utterly disappointing to see these figures. Primary bone cancer patients of all ages are still facing treatment options that have not changed for decades. Only through investment in research can we truly turn the tide on this brutal form of cancer. To see continued reductions in investment in this area is frustrating when there are at least 6,000 people living with and beyond primary bone cancer in the UK right now.
Head of Fundraising & Communications, Mat Cottle-Shaw, said:
Despite the alarming figures from the NCRI partners, we take great solace in knowing we have the support of the incredible primary bone cancer community. Because of their donations and continued fundraising efforts, we are continuing to lead where others don’t and are growing our research investment significantly to offer hope to all patients of the future.
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