The "right now" campaign was created by Anomaly, with media planning and buying by MediaCom. It will include TV, cinema, digital, social and outdoor media.
The campaign films features real footage from cancer wards across the country, including moments of diagnosis, research and the everyday life alongside the message that: "Cancer is happening right now."
The first of the films, a 60-second version showing a number of patients, will be shown on TV during Emmerdale on Christmas Eve. From Boxing Day Cancer Research UK will run 30-second spots focusing on individual patients.
The production company behind Channel 4’s award winning programme 24 hours in A&E, The Garden, created the films for the campaign. Footage was shot at Leeds Cancer Centre, Southampton General Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute.
The director was Henry Singer from The Garden.
Anthony Newman, the director of brand, marketing and communications at Cancer Research UK, said: "To go into hospitals and film with real patients, doctors and researchers is an innovative and brave approach but one we knew from the start was just ‘right’.
"The campaign truly gives an insight into those being affected right now and the ways people deal with cancer."
Alongside the TV ad the campaign will be shown in cinemas and shared across social media. In addition to the films, Cancer Research UK is running digital, radio and outdoor campaigns with photography from the photojournalist Adam Hinton. Hinton previously worked on Sport England’s "this girl can" campaign.
Digital outdoor creative will reinforce the "right now" message, sharing updates on hundreds of patients, medical staff, researchers and fundraisers on displays across the country.
The campaign will run throughout January and February across all channels.