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£1.5 billion for cancer research

A billion and a half pounds is to be spent by Cancer Research UK over five years in its fight against the disease.

Much of the funding will be focused on improving survival rates for intractable conditions such pancreatic, oesophageal and lung cancers.

A spokeswoman said: "Improvements in early detection and screening will be specifically targeted, enabling doctors to diagnose cancer earlier when it has a better chance of being successfully treated."

The charity will establish up to 20 centres of excellence across the UK to link research with patient care, public engagement and prevention initiatives.

Chief Executive, Harpal Kumar, said: "Huge progress has been made in beating cancer over the past 30 years, but progress has been faster in some areas than others.

"This strategy focuses our attention on those areas that will have the greatest impact on reducing cancer deaths in the future and on achieving our goals."

Breast cancer now has a 20-year survival rate of nearly 70%. Testicular cancer, melanoma and Hodgkin's disease now all have ten-year survival rates of more than 80%. But only around 5% of those with pancreatic, oesophageal or lung cancer will survive for that long.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

Cancer Research UK