Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on society to embrace dementia and improve diagnosis and attitudes towards the condition.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hunt suggested dementia is viewed in the same way that cancer was before breakthroughs in treatment in the 1970s.
He said that because of lack of a cure, many health professionals believe there is "no point" in actively diagnosing the disease, despite the fact medication can help control dementia for years.
This claim is backed up by research undertaken by the Alzheimer's Society, which shows that only 46 per cent of dementia cases in the UK are identified.
Mr Hunt said there are "wild variations" in diagnosis throughout the UK, suggesting that the standard of care for dementia patients within the NHS varies depending on geographical location.
He said: "By tackling stigma, challenging attitudes and transforming services we can show that dementia, like cancer, is a word and not a sentence."
Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.