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Seeking to Influence Policy Development

We campaign to raise awareness of childhood leukaemia and other childhood cancers.

We are dedicated to raising awareness and protecting children from the possible causes of leukaemia and other cancers, and to improve the lives of young cancer patients and their families, today and for future generations.

A young boy wearing white
sisters hugging each other
Small boy waving at the camera
boy with a hat
little girl posing
Jemma blows out candles on a cake.

Campaigning

As a member of campaigning coalitions such as the Cancer Campaigning Group, we join forces with other charities to get the best deal for cancer patients. We are also a member umbrella organisations such as the National Cancer Research Institute and the Association of Medical Research Charities.

Below you can read about the different ways we are working with others to campaign for change.

Cancer Campaigning Group

We are a member of the Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG).

The CCG is a coalition of national cancer-related charities representing service providers, research, advocacy and campaigning groups for cancer patients and their families.

Founded in 2002, it enables cancer charities to speak and campaign with a single unified voice. The aim of the CCG is to campaign for improved cancer policy and services in the areas of prevention; care and treatment; patient involvement and choice; and research.

Cancer52

We are a member of Cancer52 whose aim is to provide a united campaigning voice for the particular needs of patients with less common cancers.

Cancer52 seeks to discuss and suggest improvements to government for the provision of cancer services for patients with the less common cancers.

It has grown from an initial group that was brought together at the request of the National Cancer Director, Mike Richards to input into the Cancer Reform Strategy.

National Cancer Research Institute

The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) is a partnership of UK cancer funders. They work to promote communication, coordination and collaboration in cancer research.

Association of Medical Research Charities

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) is the national membership organisation of leading medical and health research charities in the UK. They help members to meet their charitable objects by interpreting and influencing the regulatory, policy and research environments and connecting members to encourage collaboration. They support the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research.

Working with Parliament

We engage with MPs and Peers from all political parties to raise awareness of childhood cancer, the needs of young patients and our specific campaigning issues.

In 2013, we held a special celebration in the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Thornton of Mannington, to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

The event brought together families affected by childhood cancer, researchers working on projects funded by Children with Cancer UK and Parliamentarians to reflect on the progress that has been made and what is still to be done.

Electricity, power lines and childhood leukaemia

Since 2004 we have been involved in a campaign to raise awareness of the association between childhood leukaemia and high-voltage power lines.

As part of a stakeholder group known as SAGE, we have called upon Government to take steps to reduce exposure to potentially harmful levels of electric and magnetic fields (EMFs).

The group produced two well-debated Official Reports for Government on various aspects of the health risks from magnetic fields and power lines. It particularly considered the options for alleviating public exposure.

In 2002, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified magnetic fields (also known as EMFs) of the type associated with our electricity supply as a class 2b carcinogen – “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. This was based on pooled epidemiological studies that reported an approximate doubling of leukaemia risk for children exposed at average levels above 0.3 – 0.4 microtesla. The UK average in homes is well below this, at about 0.05 microtesla.

In 2007, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that, if the risk is real, up to 2,400 (5%) of worldwide childhood leukaemia cases per year could be attributable to magnetic field exposure above 0.3 microtesla.

Recent studies have also found increased childhood leukaemia risk with exposure to EMFs below 0.4 microtesla, in particular a 30 per cent increase with average exposures above 0.2 microtesla.

About 2% of UK homes have average levels above 0.2 microtesla. Under high voltage power lines values can be several or even tens of microtesla. EMF exposure can also be significantly above 0.2 microtesla from appliances in the home (including electric storage radiators), wiring faults and electricity cables under the street.

Biological mechanisms

Other types of studies have advanced our understanding of how magnetic fields may cause the increased risk of leukaemia.

Birds and other animals use magnetic-field-sensitive biochemical reactions as navigation sensors. This has increased our understanding of the biological interactions of magnetic fields relevant to DNA damage, of the type that could lead to leukaemia.

The disruption by magnetic fields of our 24-hour circadian rhythm also lowers melatonin, an anti-cancer chemical, in our bodies. This is a pathway that may increase leukaemia risk, especially as melatonin is passed on to a developing foetus by the mother.

EMFs have now been shown to engender genomic instability, an evolving hallmark of cancer and in line with findings for established carcinogens.

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