BBC History Magazine

Working together today to save lives tomorrow


For Cancer Research UK scientists such as Jacqui, every day she heads into work brings us one step closer to a world in which everyone survives cancer. She leads a team of researcher­s working in the field of ‘liquid biopsies’, developing new technologi­es that make cancer treatments kinder and less invasive – and ultimately save lives. Liquid biopsies are simple blood tests that detect and monitor the progress of common cancers. Catching cancer early is key to ensuring a patient has the best chance to beat the disease. In patients with a history of breast cancer, Jacqui’s blood tests are able to detect the recurrence of cancer up to two years ahead of more traditiona­l screening methods. Down the line, Jacqui is hopeful that this new technology will deliver a “step change in cancer survival”, resulting in more personalis­ed cancer treatment plans for patients. “We hope that this type of technology will be implemente­d in the NHS in the future to help with routine care,” she says. “It’s about living with cancer and not dying from it, so that cancer largely becomes a manageable disease that you are able to monitor and live with.” This life-saving research is transformi­ng our understand­ing of cancer and how it might be treated in the future. But Jacqui needs all the help she can get to ensure that her team can continue to make the progress that will one day beat the disease. One third of Cancer Research UK’s funding comes from people who leave a gift in their Will. This money is a vital part of the fight against cancer; without it, explains Jacqui, her life-saving research couldn’t progress. “The funding is critical to what we do,” she says. “It has allowed me to develop and maintain an experience­d team of scientists – as well as form strong relationsh­ips and collaborat­ions with other centres – to drive our research forward.”

An ongoing mission

Cancer Research UK funds nearly half of all publicly funded cancer research here in the UK. The truth is, COVID-19 has slowed progress. Fundraisin­g has fallen, and right now, future research is at risk. But this research saves lives and Cancer Research UK will never stop. To save lives tomorrow, Cancer Research UK needs your help today. There are many different types of gifts you can leave in your Will, such as a specific amount or item, but a residuary gift is likely to be the most valuable way to give to charity. A residuary gift is a share or percentage of your estate, and it is inflation-proof so will never lose value. The hard fact is that one in two people born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime. Cancer Research UK’s pioneering research has helped save millions of lives so far, and the charity wants to see three in four people surviving their cancer for 10 years or more by 2034. But it needs your help to do so. Pledge now to help beat cancer for future generation­s by leaving a gift in your Will to Cancer Research UK. Together, with your pledge and that of Cancer Research UK, we can create a world where everyone survives cancer.

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