Spending on cancer services has reached a record level, the government says.
Cancer care is a cornerstone of the NHS
An inquiry has shown an additional £639m has been invested in cancer services since 2000/01 - £69m more than pledged in the 2000 Cancer Plan.
The government's cancer tsar Professor Mike Richards undertook the tracking exercise to look at where money committed to cancer services had gone.
The move followed concerns from cancer charities that money was being diverted to pay for other services.
The Cancer Plan promised an additional expenditure of £570m on cancer services by 2003/04.
The results of the tracking exercise show that:
- £192m was spent on cancer drugs and £230m was spent on other services, such as specialist staff
- £113m was mainly invested in new equipment
- £103m went towards staff training, modernising services and palliative care
Professor Richards, the National Director for Cancer, said: "These figures show that the money being allocated to cancer services is making a real difference, with more drugs, staff and equipment being provided.
"More money than ever before is now going into tackling the disease and thousands of lives are being saved."
Health Minister Rosie Winterton said significant progress had been made towards reorganising and rejuvenating cancer services.
She said: "We have some of the fastest falling death rates from cancer in Europe.
"The latest figures show that cancer mortality has fallen by over 12% in the last six years.
"This equates to around 33,000 lives saved over this period.
"There's still more to do, but we are delivering better treatment, more quickly, to more people than ever before and there are thousands of people alive and well who would not be without these improvements."
'More must be done'
Concerns about the use of money for cancer services was raised by the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief in 2003.
The charity issued a report saying it had found a lack of transparency and widespread inconsistencies in how the money was allocated and tracked.
It also said investment had been poor in cancer services that improve the patient's experience and that inadequate provision had been made for meaningful patient involvement in their own care.
Peter Cardy, chief executive, said: "Macmillan will keep up the pressure on the Department of Health because this tracking exercise happened for one reason - charities and MPs asked why cancer money wasn't getting spent where it's meant.
"Much more still needs to be done to meet the NHS cancer targets and modernise cancer services to improve the quality of the entire patient journey.
"Cancer is a unique condition which requires special attention and continued investment.
"Cancer must remain a local and national disease priority throughout the UK."
Professor John Toy, medical director at Cancer Research UK, welcomed the increased investment.
However, he highlighted a report published last week suggesting many cancer doctors were struggling to cope with the pressures of the job.
"Cancer patients deserve, and must be able to look forward to, greater benefits resulting from yet more government investment."
Joanne Rule, of the charity CancerBACUP, said: "Whilst we welcome the results of this tracking exercise, it finished in 2004 and there is no longer an investment strategy.
"There are many shortfalls in cancer services that need urgent attention like waiting times and the funding of cancer treatments.
"CancerBACUP is calling for a national investment plan and this is what the public have told us they want."