Law  CANCER ACT 1939


(2 & 3 Geo 6 c 13)

 An Act to make further provision for the treatment of cancer, to authorise the minister of Health to lend money to the national Radium Trust, to prohibit certain advertisements relating to cancer, and for purposes connected with the matters afore said

[29 March 1939]


1—3 (Ss 1, 2 repealed by the National Health service Act 1946, s 76, Sch 10, Pt II;s 3 repealed by the National Health Service (amendment) Act 1949, s 29(3).)

4 prohibition of certain advertisements

(1) No person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement—

(a) containing an offer to treat any person for cancer, or to prescribe any remedy therefor, or to give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof; or


(2) If any person contravenes any of the provisions of the foregoing subsection, he shall be liable on summary conviction, [to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale] or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such a fine and such imprisonment.


(4) In any proceedings for a contravention of subsection (1) of this section, it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove—

(a) that the advertisement to which the proceedings relate was published only so far as was reasonably necessary to bring it to the notice of persons of the following classes or of one or some of them, that is to say,—

(i) members of either House of Parliament or of a local authority or of the governing body of a voluntary hospital;


(iii) registered medical practitioners;

(iv) registered nurses;

(v) registered pharmacists and [persons lawfully conducting a retail pharmacy business in accordance with section 69 of the Medicines Act 1968]

(vi) persons undergoing training with a view to becoming registered medical practitioners, registered nurses or registered pharmacists:


(b) that the said advertisement was published only in a publication of a technical character intended for circulation mainly amongst persons of the classes mentioned in the last preceding paragraph or one or some of those classes; or

(c) that the said advertisement was published in such circumstances that he did not know and had no reason to believe that he was taking part in the publication thereof.

(5) Nothing in this section shall apply in respect of any advertisement published by a local authority or by the governing body of a voluntary hospital or by any person acting with the sanction of the Minister.

(6) A prosecution for an offence under this section shall not be instituted in England or Wales without the consent of the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General.

(7) Subject to the provisions of the last foregoing subsection, it shall be the duty of the council of every county and county borough to institute proceedings under this section.

(8) In this section the expression "advertisement" includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document, and any announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting sounds.

5 Interpretation

  1. In this Act the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say:—

Hospital" includes a clinic, dispensary or other institution for the reception of the sick whether as in-patients or as out-patients;

"The Minister" means the Minister of Health;

(2) In this Act references to persons suffering from cancer shall be construed as including references to persons suspected to be so suffering.