Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to unveil plans for new cancer screening programmes which ministers believe will save up to 3,000 lives a year.
Pilot programmes to screen over-55s for bowel cancer will be launched in five areas in England.
The scheme will enable doctors to detect and remove polyps before can they turn cancerous. It will also allow cancers to be caught earlier when they are more treatable.
At the same time, the Government is piloting a new, more sensitive test for cervical cancer which could mean women would need screening half as often, while identifying abnormal cells at an earlier, more treatable stage.
Mr Hunt, who is addressing the Britain Against Cancer conference in London, will say he wants to bring standards in England up to the best in Europe.
For some cancer types, survival rates are 10% to 15% lower in England than in comparable countries such as Australia, Canada and Sweden.
Speaking ahead of his speech, Mr Hunt said: "It is simply unacceptable that our cancer survival rates lag behind that of our European neighbours. I want to make sure that our survival is among the best and NHS patients receive the best treatment available."
The bowel cancer screening trials will be held in Norwich, South of Tyne, St Mark's London, Surrey, West Kent and Wolverhampton. The cervical cancer test will be piloted in Liverpool, Manchester, Northwick Park, Bristol, Sheffield and Norwich.