-since 2018

How cancer charities are making change with digital

We’ve rounded up a few of the innovative examples of cancer based charities who are breaking the mould with digital to drive awareness and help fight the disease.

Every two minutes, someone in the UK gets canceraccounting for more than a quarter (28%) of all deaths. It’s a staggering statistic, and may be the reason why two-thirds of the British public who donate to charity give to a cancer based charity, making it the most popular fundraising cause.

Cancer charities have an enormous challenge in ensuring they put those donations to good use to stamp out preventable diagnoses and deaths, and digital technology can help in many ways.

We’ve rounded up a few of the innovative examples of cancer based charities who are innovating with digital:

Stand Up to Cancer

The cancer charity have recently launched a fundraising quiz on the voice assistant, hosted by comedian Joe Lycett and working together with Channel 4.

As Tiffany Hall, Chief Information Officer at Cancer Research UK says:

“The unique qualities of voice technology mean everyone can focus on raising money for vital research without worrying about how to host, as virtual quiz master Joe Lycett does all the hard work for you, and the audio experience puts the focus firmly on having fun and spending quality time together.”

The CRUK website shows people how they can set up their quiz fundraisers, and for those without an Alexa device the quiz material is also available as a downloadable PDF.

Cancer Research UK (CRUK)

Stand Up to Cancer are not the only ones using the latest voice enabled tech and AI to reach supporters, and also spread awareness of the causes of cancer. We spoke with CRUK Innovation Manager Rob Leyland about how they’ve developed an alcohol tracker skill for Alexa that allows people to keep track of and stay aware of their alcohol consumption, as well as to spread the message that alcohol and cancer risk are linked.

The UK’s biggest cancer charity are always experimenting with new ways to utilise digital for supporters, service users and their families. Its recent foray into Virtual Reality brings people into a 360 video experience of a patient undergoing a life saving cancer operation.

In a unique use of VR, they’ve also created a beautiful installation as the moving tribute to its supporters and a way to celebrate the progress Cancer Research UK has made thanks to their legacy gift.

Breast Cancer Care

Going back to the Alexa theme, Breast Cancer Care’s skill, called ‘Taking care of your breasts’ helps women spot the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Care has also been in the spotlight in recent years for its BECCA end of treatment supoort app for those recovering from breast cancer, covering issues such as diet, exercise, mental health and body image. Developed in partnership with CAST (Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology) with funding from the National Lottery, the app has over 7,5000 users and is the first of its kind.

British Skin Foundation

Another great free app is this one from the British Skin Foundation. Called, Miiskin it’s designed to help battle the most common form of cancer in the UK and generate funds for the charity.

The app helps people monitor and track how their skin and moles look, capturing a snapshot of the skin’s appearance and delivering regular reminders to routinely check for changes. The app has already received 100,000 downloads globally, including 20,000 in the UK.


Cancer support charity Macmillan have been championing Artificial Intelligence analytics to help drive its fundraising around its World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event.

Imogen Stead at digital team Automated Creative, who worked with the charity on this, said:

“The term ‘artificial intelligence’ may sound futuristic and a bit of a gamble but in fact it’s the exact opposite. Our technology can help ensure that every word and image will have the maximum possible impact and offer the best value for money.”

Dimbleby Cancer Care

Dimbleby Cancer Care, a charity chaired by the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, decided to launch an online map to help people find cancer care and support, addressing the gap in information for those living with cancer, their friends and carers as well as clinicians.

The launch follows a pilot that got underway in February last year. Since then the site has developed with input on latest services from former and current cancer patients as well as medical staff.

Teenage Cancer Trust

In a fun way to raise awareness, Teenage Cancer Trust has created its own emoji on Twitter to help promote its annual music event at the Royal Albert Hall.

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