Looking back on 2019

24 December 2019

Thanks to our incredible supporters, we’ve made great progress during 2019 in our goal to make sure fewer people in Yorkshire develop or die from cancer.

In partnership with universities, hospitals, councils and health organisations across our county, we’ve funded new research and services in three key areas: preventing cancer, diagnosing cancer early and improving survival.

From supporting people to make lifestyle choices that reduce their risk of developing cancer, encouraging more people to take part in the national cancer screening programmes, to finding the best treatments from across the globe and bringing them to Yorkshire, the charity is having a direct impact on the lives of people living in Yorkshire. 

We’re currently investing more than £43m in 62 projects involving 150,000 patients throughout the region.  

As we move into a new decade, we’re looking forward to building on everything we’ve achieved so far to tackle the issues facing Yorkshire when it comes to cancer.


We launched the New Year by highlighting the steps we can take to reduce our risk of cancer. Four in 10 cancers are related to lifestyle choices. From giving up smoking to being more active and reducing our intake of red and processed meat, we can all play a role in creating healthy communities in our region.

In 2020 we’ll be stepping up our investment in stop smoking support and raising awareness of cancer prevention through community health programmes.


The charity’s patron Sir Michael Parkinson encouraged cancer patients across Yorkshire to share their experiences in the build-up to our Let’s Talk about Cancer event. 

Sir Michael, 83, spoke about the struggles he faced following his own cancer diagnosis to help promote the free event, which took place at Magna Science Centre, Rotherham, in March. 

Sir Michael was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 and received the ‘all-clear’ from doctors in summer 2015 following two years of treatment. He became patron of Yorkshire Cancer Research in 2016 to help support better diagnosis and treatment for those living in the region.  


The charity announced an investment of £6.5m in eight new research projects and health services in March.

The projects included a £1.4m investment in developing and testing a new guide to help GPs and practice nurses identify and manage the needs and concerns of people with cancer and their carers.

The charity also invested in a study to find out if cutting-edge lung images provided by Sheffield’s world-leading magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) centre can help doctors select the best treatment option for lung cancer patients. 



In April we launched a new campaign in Hull, developed as part of the charity’s ‘People Hull’ programme and led by Hull York Medical School.

The ‘Check Your Lungs’ campaign encourages people to look out for family and friends that might be experiencing signs and symptoms such as breathlessness and a persistent cough.

The campaign includes roadshow events at community locations and advertising across the city. Local survivors and celebrities have also shared their stories to encourage people to get a lung check that could save their lives.



To mark International Clinical Trials Day on 20th May we shared the experience of David Alston, from Sheffield, who took part in an early phase clinical trial supported by Yorkshire Cancer Research.

David was diagnosed with cancer in his kidney and had surgery to remove it, but there was a high risk that the cancer would return. His surgeon recommended a trial involving a new type of treatment called immunotherapy, funded by pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and supported through the Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre for Early Phase Clinical Trials.

The Centre launched in 2014 to give patients living in the region more access to innovative treatments. 



In June we unveiled a floral sculpture in Leeds city centre to help convey our goal to prevent 2,000 people in Yorkshire dying from cancer every year.

The design included 2,000 white roses to represent each person who will survive cancer every year thanks to the work the charity funds. Representatives from the charity handed out each of the roses throughout the day in a bid to unite the region in raising awareness that people in Yorkshire are more likely to develop and die from cancer than almost any other area in England.



In July we announced a £2m investment in improving cancer prevention and early diagnosis in Leeds.

In partnership with Leeds City Council, the funding is being used to develop local projects to improve participation in the national screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancers. 

The programme will also raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of cancer. The work will be delivered through the Leeds Cancer Programme’s prevention, screening and awareness activity.



We marked Yorkshire Day (August 1) with our new fundraising campaign, ‘Give It Some Welly’. From Bradford to Bridlington, people across Yorkshire got creative with their wellies to help give cancer the boot.

The campaign was officially launched in Leeds City Centre by Yorkshire’s very own England World Cup cricketing hero Adil Rashid, who tried his hand at welly wanging with BBC presenter Harry Gration to raise awareness of the charity’s vital work. On Yorkshire Day itself, Yorkshire County Cricket Club captain Steven Patterson made an appearance at Bradford Broadway Shopping Centre to help inspire local people to get involved.

The campaign played a huge role in helping to spread the news of how we’re tackling cancer in our region. We’re looking forward to making it even bigger and better in 2020 and welcome your support. 



In September we launched a new exercise service for cancer patients in Yorkshire.

Active Against Cancer, funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and provided by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, is the first of its kind to be offered to all cancer patients as part of their treatment plan. 

Research shows being physically active can help cancer patients prepare for and recover from surgery, relieve side effects from treatments like chemotherapy and, in some cases, reduce the chance of a cancer returning.



We marked the first anniversary of the Leeds Lung Health Check by sharing the experiences of people who have received life-saving treatment through this pioneering programme.

The multi-million pound screening trial, delivered in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council, aims to test screening in community settings and provide information for future lung screening programmes.

More than 3,500 people living in Leeds have now been checked for early signs of lung disease, with 50 lung cancers detected so far. 



In November we addressed concerns about e-cigarettes.

Yorkshire Cancer Research supports a review of the evidence by Public Health England, which states that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking. 

We continue to encourage the use of e-cigarettes as a tool to quit smoking, but strongly recommend that vapers buy their e-cigarettes from a local vape shop or other reputable retailer.



We couldn’t achieve everything we do without the support of people across the region.  There are lots of ways to get involved in supporting Yorkshire Cancer Research as we approach 2020.

From signing up to an event to volunteering in one of our shops, leaving a gift in your will or becoming a corporate partner, you can play a part in our life-saving research.

Find out how you can get involved and do something amazing for Yorkshire. 


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