Psychosocial and cultural factors influencing cancer health behaviour have not been systematically investigated outside the western culture, and qualitative research is the best approach for this type of social research. The research methods employed to study health problems in Asia predominantly are quantitative techniques. The set up of the first psychosocial cancer research network in Asia marks the beginning of a collaboration to promote and spearhead applied qualitative healthcare research in cancer in the UK, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. This paper sets out the rationale, objectives and mission for the UK-SEA-ME Psychosocial-Cultural Cancer Research Network. The UK-SEA-ME network is made up of collaborators from the University of Leeds (UK), the University of Malaya (Malaysia), the National University of Singapore (Singapore) and the University of United Arab Emirates (UAE). The network promotes applied qualitative research to investigate the psychosocial and cultural factors influencing delayed and late presentation and diagnosis for cancer (breast cancer) in partner countries, as well as advocating the use of the mixed-methods research approach. The network also offers knowledge transfer for capacity building within network universities. The mission of the network is to improve public awareness about the importance of early management and prevention of cancer through research in Asia.