National cancer plans

In 1996 a government report showed that there was a difference in how long cancer patients were surviving depending on how wealthy they were (we call it the ‘deprivation gap in survival’).


In 2011, ‘Improving Outcomes: a strategy for cancer’ was published to raise awareness of the symptoms of cancer and further support earlier diagnosis. So, has progress been made. Quite naturally, policy makers as well as the public need to see how efficient these policies have been at addressing their aims.

Data and methods

To find out we used data from 3.5 m patients to look at the difference between the richest and the poorest patients surviving cancer and whether this has changed over time.

And this is what we found…


In 2013 more people are surviving cancer longer, but the deprivation gap still looks the same.

We believe the various policies and strategies have made a difference in some areas but not in reducing inequalities/the deprivation gap.


We recommend looking more closely at how the NHS interacts with the poorest and whether policies that target the health care system, rather than individual behavior, could reduce the inequalities. 

Aimilia Exarchakou

Research Fellow