What is so special about cancer? Perspectives from clinical research, philosophy and social sciences

Date: Thursday 5th April 12:00 - Friday 6th April 17:00
Time: 12:00 - 17:00  
Venue: SG1/2 Alison Richard Building, Sidgwick Site


Cancer is accorded a special status in public debates, policy, clinical research and clinical practice. Relative to disease burden, cancer research receives a disproportionately high amount of funding compared to other diseases.  In addition, some healthcare systems preferentially fund treatments for cancer. The Cancer Drugs Fund under the NHS, for example, created a funding mechanism dedicated solely to cancer drugs, which are treated more favourably when there are gaps in the evidence base supporting their cost-effectiveness. Meanwhile, the desire to detect cancer earlier via screening remains highly controversial—both in terms of its overall effectiveness and in terms of the best way to treat low-risk cancers. Such issues consistently place cancer under public scrutiny, creating dominant discourses that shape the very experience of the disease within one’s culture.

This conference brings together perspectives from clinical research, medical practice, philosophy, health economics and psychology to explore what makes cancer so special. Is the current amount of funding for cancer research and treatment justifiable? Are existing arrangements consistent with public perceptions of cancer, and what can the lived experience of actual patients, carers and clinicians teach us? Where is cancer research, treatment and policy going? This conference provides an opportunity to examine whether the special status of cancer is justifiable, and to explore the implications for the future of medicine.

A programme and online registration will be available shortly.

For administrative enquiries please contact Michelle Maciejewska.

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