Today, 10 January 2012, Tesco is aiming to raise over £10 million to help Cancer Research UK’s work to beat cancer by making Cancer Research UK its Charity of the Year in 2012.

The money – to be raised by Tesco, its staff, customers and suppliers – will be spent on new research and an awareness campaign to improve early diagnosis and detection of the disease. This will help more people survive cancer and keep more families together.

Tesco will also continue to be the main sponsor of Race for Life for the next three years. Tesco has supported the event for the last 10 years.

More than 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year, equivalent to just over the entire Tesco workforce, one of the largest private sector employers in the UK.

Richard Brasher, Tesco UK CEO, said: “I’m delighted to announce our increased commitment to Cancer Research UK – an amazing organisation, which has saved so many lives already through its ground-breaking research.

“I’m particularly pleased that the partnership builds on our continued support of Race for Life. During the past 10 years over two-thirds of Tesco staff have taken part or supported this great event, raising £7.5 million themselves and helping the Race for Life series as a whole to reach its overall total to date of £457 million. We hope selecting Cancer Research UK as our Charity of the Year will help them fund more life-saving research.

“Tesco’s passion for research into cancer was ignited by a young woman’s struggle with cachexia, also known as wasting syndrome, linked to her cancer. We have already funded a pilot study in this area, providing free, nutritious food for young cancer sufferers in hospital, but more research is needed into this and many other areas of cancer”.

Tesco’s support of Cancer Research UK will help the charity to achieve its goal of diagnosing more cancers at an early stage where successful treatment is more likely – so that many more lives can be saved – by:

  • Supporting the funding of up to 100 early diagnosis research projects in local communities across the UK
  • Supporting a new awareness campaign that aims to reduce people’s anxiety about the disease and encourage them to visit the doctor with any possible symptoms. People fear cancer more than any other disease but the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of survival
  • Continuing its support for Race for Life. Tesco has been the main sponsor of Race for Life, Cancer Research UK’s biggest annual fundraising event, for the last 10 years and the company will continue in this role for the next three years. Tesco is aiming to generate a further £3 million through sponsorship, corporate donation and staff fundraising to support the event series, on top of the £10m Charity of the Year fundraising target

Colin Barnard, 68 from Hemel Hampstead who had his bowel cancer detected through routine bowel screening in early December, said: “Bowel screening has meant I had a CT scan, keyhole surgery, and was discharged from hospital in time to have Christmas lunch at home with my family. And this all happened in just three weeks and two days.

“I almost certainly owe my life to bowel cancer screening, without which my problem would almost certainly not have come to light until either the tumour had blocked my colon or the cancer had spread elsewhere.”

Dr Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “We’re delighted to be Tesco’s charity of the year. This opens a new and exciting chapter in our relationship.

“For the past 10 years Tesco has embraced Race for Life and in doing so has played a key role in making the event series the success it is today.

“By working together this partnership can make a significant contribution towards our research, helping to ensure that many more people survive cancer in the future.”

Paul Burstow, Care Services Minister, said: “Cancer Research UK does incredible work in enabling us to better understand how to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

“More than one in three people will be affected by cancer during their life, and that is why it is so pleasing to hear that Tesco has chosen Cancer Research UK as its Charity of the Year 2012.

“I hope that this partnership will help raise more money for Cancer Research UK to continue its fantastic work.”

Launched in 1988, the Tesco Charity of the Year programme has raised over £60 million for good causes, thanks to the generosity of its customers and staff. This includes £17 million since 2000 for cancer causes alone. Alzheimer’s UK and Alzheimer’s Scotland are currently Charity of the Year and have already received over £5 million with two months of fundraising activity still to go.


For media enquiries please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8300 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.


Sample research projects

1. Tesco will support Professor Peter Sasieni’s ongoing research programme investigating whether testing women aged 25-65 for the human papillomavirus (HPV) – as part of the cervical screening programme – could save even more lives than the smear test alone. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women under the age of 35, and the majority of cases are caused by two strains of HPV, types 16 and 18.

Professor Peter Sasieni, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “I’m very pleased that Tesco will be helping to fund our vital work looking at the best way to detect the very early stages of cervical cancer.”

2. Another project that the money will fund is Professor Wendy Atkin’s work on preventing bowel cancer. Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK with nearly 40,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year. Her work focuses on preventing the disease by catching polyps and other more difficult to detect bowel lesions while they are still harmless.  

Professor Wendy Atkin, a Cancer Research UK scientist based at Imperial College in London, said:  “I’m delighted that Tesco are helping fund Cancer Research UK’s vital research into early diagnosis and prevention of the disease. Our work has already shown that a once only screen with flexi-scope reduces the chance of getting bowel cancer by a third. And as a result of this work everyone will be offered this bowel screening at age 55. Our latest research is looking at ways of preventing many more bowel cancers.”

About Tesco Charity of the Year

About Tesco ’s charitable support

Tesco Charity of the Year partnership – Since 1988, Tesco has chosen a different charity every year to be the focus for staff fundraising and has raised £60 million for good causes over this period.
The Tesco Charity Trust tops up all staff fundraising by 20% (up to maximum of £500,000 for Charity of the Year fundraising)
Tesco is committed to helping the nation fight cancer and since 2000 has raised over £30 million to help a range of UK cancer charities to deliver services in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for people in communities across the UK. In 2010, Tesco raised a record breaking £7.5 million in one year to ensure every child being treated for cancer in the UK had access to a Clic Sargent children’s cancer nurse.
In addition, Tesco has recently funded a pilot nutrition project with the University College London Hospital (UCLH) to improve access to free food for teenagers receiving treatment for cancer in hospital, helping them to avoid developing cachexia. Tesco are in the business of ensuring people have good, nutritious food and are therefore in a unique position to help people who suffer from weight loss and muscle wasting as a result of their cancer treatment