Mon 14 Aug 2017 06.30 BSTLast modified on Sat 25 Nov 2017 02.22 GMT
A consultant studying a mammogram ... eight of 10 women now survive
breast cancer. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA
news story about cancer research should come with a health warning: believe the hope, but not the hype. Good headlines are quick and catchy, good science is steady steps taken on a complicated issue over a long time. If a new treatment is still being
researched, it could be metaphorical miles and actual years away from getting into the hands or bodies of patients. As blogger Kay Curtin, who has
advanced melanoma, puts it: “The media tend to pick one line on a report and run with it, but they do not draw attention or highlight that it’s just a potential benefit, or the fact that many of these are just proven in a petri dish or a mouse
and very often do not prove effective when tested on humans. It is cruel to existing patients to make claims with misleading headlines.”
One of the best ways to deal with cancer is to divide and conquer, based on as much knowledge as we can get
of how individual tumours work. Treating all cancers from the same part of the body equally isn’t good enough – you must match the right patient with the right treatment.
As Dr Justine Alford, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, explains: “As science continues to reveal more about cancer, we’re starting to think of it in a different way, as we know
that two tumours affecting the same part of the body won’t necessarily behave in the same way. Some will be more aggressive; some might be resistant to one treatment, but respond to another. Our understanding of these unique features of different tumours
has helped to produce one of the most exciting areas of research for all cancer types: personalised medicine.”
Eight out of 10 women now survive breast cancer, but research won’t be over until no one dies and survivors have a far easier journey. Researchers are trying to find out more about how we might prevent breast cancers, how some become resistant to therapy and how to stop them from spreading.
Lung cancer, however, remains deadly. There are often no symptoms until it has taken over a large part of the lungs or spread to other parts of the body. On top of this, it grows quickly and is
sometimes intrinsically resistant to chemotherapy. Other cancers that don’t come with clear early warnings include pancreatic cancer – the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund says it is“the only cancer that has seen no improvement in [survival rate] over the last 40 years” – and oesophageal cancer, which is on the rise, partly due to obesity and alcohol use. Pancreatic and brain tumours are hard to get drugs into. The brain is surrounded by a very selective gatekeeper called the blood-brain barrier, which normally keeps possible poisons out; while as much as 90% of pancreatic tumours comprises of a dense tissue called stroma, which surrounds the tumour like a shield.
Researchers are looking for kinder, more effective treatments for these cancers, as well as ways to catch them sooner. Innovative ways to get
drugs into brain tumours, such as modifying bee venom or adjusting the chemistry of nanoparticles, offers hope. Lung cancer research, much of it at the University
of Manchester and UCL, is carving out a better understanding of how the cancer works and how we can treat it better. Meanwhile, both pancreatic and oesophageal cancers had breakthrough discoveries
this year when subtypes of each cancer were discovered, meaning they can both potentially be treated with personalised medicine in the future.
Of course, if we already knew the answer, it wouldn’t be research. The greatest challenge,
always, is the complex and wily nature of cancer, but there’s no getting away from the fact that finite funds aren’t evenly spread across different cancer types. More people donate towards breast than lung cancer research, partly reflecting the number of people affected by breast cancer and the well-organised advocacy
behind it. And according O’Connor, in Ireland, of the tens of thousands of cancers diagnosed every year, less than 200 are in children. However, because childhood cancer is so emotive, many more donations come in for paediatric than geriatric cancers.
In a recent video on Twitter, the charity Breast Cancer Now said that every £25 raised supports one hour of research.
It’s impossible to guess at how many more hours will be needed before we can live free of the fear of cancer. The only certainty is that we won’t give up.
But a deal has now been struck between NHS England and the manufacturer Roche, backed by Nice, to make the drug available to around 1,200 women a year in England.
Until now, the drug has been funded only through the cancer drugs fund.
In clinical trials, Kadcyla, which has a full list price of £90,000 a year per patient, was shown to extend the lives of people with terminal cancer by an average of six months.
It also dramatically improves quality of life, compared with other treatments, and reduces side effects.
Details of the price agreed between Roche and the NHS are being kept confidential.
Kadycla is for people with Her2+ breast cancer that has
spread to other parts of the body and cannot be removed through surgery. Previous treatments, usually Herceptin, must have failed for patients to receive the drug.
Kadcyla, also called T-DM1, combines Herceptin with a potent chemotherapy agent. It works
by attaching itself to the Her2 receptor on cancer cells, blocking signals that encourage the cancer to grow and spread. The chemotherapy element also goes inside the cell and causes it to die from within.
Kadcyla is given intravenously once every three weeks.
The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool,
said: “NHS cancer survival rates are now at record highs, and this year we’re going to be making major upgrades to modern radiotherapy treatments in every part of England.
“NHS England is also taking practical action to drive greater
value from taxpayers’ growing investment in modern drug treatments, and that work is beginning to bear fruit.
“Today’s announcement on Kadcyla shows that
for companies who are willing to work with us, there are concrete gains for them, for the NHS and, most importantly, for patients able to get new and innovative drugs.
“In this case, tough negotiation and flexibility between the NHS and
Roche means both patients and taxpayers are getting a good deal.”
Richard Erwin, general manager at Roche, said: “This is a positive example of how solutions can be reached when all parties show flexibility.”
chief executive of the research charity Breast Cancer Now, said: “We are absolutely delighted that
tough negotiation and flexibility by Nice and NHS England, and the willingness of Roche to compromise on price, have ensured that thousands of women with incurable breast cancer will be given precious time to live.
“We want to congratulate and
thank the hundreds of thousands of women, men and families across the country for their relentless campaigning to ensure this crucial lifeline drug is routinely available to those that need it.
“However, this news comes at a time when there
is a real possibility that Perjeta, the first-line treatment for this group of patients, could soon be removed from NHS use, with a decision imminent.
“Perjeta’s benefits are extraordinary, offering nearly 16 additional months of life to
women with incurable breast cancer, and it is imperative that a solution is found to save this drug, at a cost affordable to both the NHS and the taxpayer.”
Prof Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at Nice,
said: “The committee acknowledged the comments received from patients during the consultation on the draft recommendations for trastuzumab emtansine [the generic name for Kadcyla], in particular that 115,000 people had signed a Breast Cancer Now petition urging Nice and the company
to ensure that it remains available.
“We are therefore very pleased that the company and NHS England have been able to agree a deal that will achieve this.”
30 Sep 2012 21.00 BSTFirst published on Sun 30 Sep 2012 21.00 BST
Self-examination can do more harm than good, it has been suggested.
900 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer each week. Yet according
to a new report from Avon, a third of 2,000 British women surveyed never examine their breasts. Avon's Breast Promise campaign has teamed up with a psychologist to come up with tips to encourage women to regularly check their breasts. Daughters should be taught
to check their breasts from 12 or 13 years of age, and be told it is as important as caring for their skin or hair. You should tell your family you will be checking your own breasts once a month, and set an automatic alarm on your phone to remind you.
Or should you? Is examining your breasts useful?
We'd all like to think women can help themselves to detect breast cancer but research from the Cochrane Collaboration,
which adds up the results of lots of studies, says there is no evidence that self-examination works. In fact there is evidence it does more harm than good. Breast self-examination causes anxiety and can provide false reassurance, if women miss cancers.
There has never even been agreement on the right way for women to examine their breasts. A large study in Shanghai
of 266,064 women aged between 30 and 64 years of age found that those given breast self-examination instructions had the same numbers
of cancers detected, and no reduction in the number of deaths. Women who examined their breasts had more biopsies for harmless lumps, which can cause scarring of the breast.
What may be more useful is encouraging women to be aware of what their
breasts look and feel like normally, rather than getting them to do a thorough regular examination. Being "breast
aware" is preferred to self-examination by Cancer Research UK. This means looking out for changes in the nipple (a pulling inwards, bleeding or rashes), puckering of the skin, a lump or thickening that feels different, any change in the shape of the
breast, how it hangs or if one breast becomes larger. Most cancers are found by women themselves (screening by mammography only finds one third to a half of breast cancers), the majority of whom don't practise self-examination but are aware of changes in their
It's not clear from their report if Avon is suggesting women should self-examine or become breast aware. The report focuses on getting women into a habit of checking breasts. But they do seem to advocate monthly checks for which there is no
evidence. As the authors of a paper in the European Journal of Cancer wrote, breast cancer support
organisations should recognise their responsibilities. "Intense promotional activity such as breast cancer awareness month every October
results in dismayed clinicians finding their clinics overcrowded with the worried well to the detriment of patients with breast cancer."
Mon 11 Dec 2017 08.00 GMTLast modified on Mon 11 Dec 2017 17.11 GMT
A doctor examines a mammogram. Breast cancer-related mortality is falling, but is breast screening responsible for that? Photograph: Getty
Many of us will know someone who had breast cancer found at
screening. The cancer seen on a mammogram may have been microscopic, so early in its malignant life that it hadn’t broken through the wall of its milk duct. Thank heavens, then, for breast screening, which is offered to all women between 50 and
70 in the UK and other countries. It is promoted enthusiastically as lifesaving, but does it deliver on its promise? And are the randomised controlled trials that persuaded governments to offer it, carried out in the 1970s and 80s, still valid?
Yes, but mostly no, seems to be the answer. Screening for cancer only works if it reduces deaths from cancer. It does this by reducing the number of the advanced cancers that are more likely to kill people. What screening doesn’t
want to do is just identify breast cancers earlier (so someone has the diagnosis for longer) or find breast cancers that wouldn’t have caused any trouble in that person’s lifetime. A study of Dutch women in the BMJconcludes that rates of more advanced breast cancers didn’t fall between 1989 (when screening started) and 2012, and that while more women survived for longer, about 28% of that
was due to better treatment and only 5% or less due to screening. Supporting this finding was the fact that women under 50 who weren’t eligible for screening had a similar fall in death rates over the same period.
The researchers found that more
than half the cancers identified by screening would never otherwise have been found or caused problems. These women had breast surgery and anxiety that they didn’t need. The researchers pointed out that Dutch and Belgian cancer deaths both fell by 34%
in the same period – although the Belgians did not start their screening programme until 15 years later.
The Welsh NHS breast screening advice says that screening reduces your risk of dying from breast cancer by 35%. But it is more meaningful to look at how many women would need to be screened to prevent deaths from breast
cancer. Michael Baum, a professor emeritus of surgery at University College London, estimated that 10,000 women would need to be screened to
prevent three to four deaths and that this would lead to 120-140 women being overdiagnosed and having unnecessary treatment. In an editorial accompanying the Dutch research, Mette Kalager, an associate professor from Harvard, writes: “The good news is that breast cancer-related mortality is falling. The bad news is that screening mammograms
are unlikely to be responsible for that benefit while causing well-documented harm.” So far, I have not had screening, but it’s an individual choice and hard to resist.
Sun 7 Oct 2012 20.00 BSTFirst published on Sun 7 Oct 2012 20.00 BST
Charities such as Maggie’s provide support for recovering patients.
Cancer news usually involves unremittingly grim stories about carcinogens or rising cancer rates. But recently there was something more positive. A Cancer
Research UK report shows that deaths are "set to fall dramatically" by 2030. The 17% drop will be the result of major improvements in diagnosis, treatment and fewer people smoking. Many more of us can expect to survive cancer.
This is marvellous news but unfortunately it's not
the full story. "It is not that a magic wand has been waved and they are all cured," says Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan
Cancer Support. "It actually means many people will be living longer with the disease. The impact of cancer does not suddenly stop when treatment is over. Many cancer patients have to deal with the physical and emotional effects of their cancer for years
Christina Buffham, 32, from Staines, was diagnosed with breast cancer when her son, Jack, was only four months old. During her maternity leave from British Airways she had a mastectomy
followed by gruelling chemotherapy. "I got the all-clear on Jack's first birthday," she says, "and I thought, 'Life's going to be brilliant now.' I was euphoric. But when all that dies down, it hits you: your body still isn't right and you are terrified that
the cancer will come back."
This is a common reaction. "Rates of depression and anxiety are very high when treatment ends," says Dr Michelle Kohn, director of Living Well, a programme that offers emotional and practical support to cancer patients at Leaders in Oncology Care, a private London-based clinic. "Other emotional issues, such as low self-esteem, anger, stress or sleep
problems are also widespread."
On top of this, cancer survivors are often battling with physical and practical challenges, anything from huge financial losses, to the side effects of medication, profound fatigue, a confused-feeling known as "chemo brain", or lymphoedima (swelling). Their loved ones, meanwhile,
might be increasingly baffled as to why they can't bounce back and make the most of life. "People suffer for years, often in silence, without any real support," says Kohn. "Life after cancer can actually be very difficult and lonely."
It does not help,
says Devane, that, "the current system is woefully inadequate at supporting the changing nature of cancer survivors". In the United States, most major cancer units have survivorship programmes where teams of psychologists, nurses,
and other specialists offer ongoing information, advice and emotional support to patients when treatment ends. This, of course, is funded by health insurance. In contrast, NHS post-treatment psychological or practical services are limited, to say the least.
The National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (NCSI), a partnership between the Department of Health and Macmillan, was launched in
2008 to help improve the situation but it has a massive job on its hands. According to NCSI
research, 60% of cancer survivors have unmet physical or psychological needs; over 33% have problems with close relationships, careers, or have difficulty performing household duties; over 90% have suffered financial losses. Waving these people off with
a six-month followup appointment, is simply not working.
The NCSI is launching a range of programmes that take a more holistic approach to the needs of cancer survivors, for example encouraging physical activity, or helping with issues including work
and finance. "It is essential the NHS now implements these solutions," says Devane. But there is a very long way to go.
Other cancer charities, in smaller ways, are also trying to plug the gaping hole in post-cancer care. The charity Maggie's
runs a free six-week programme called "Where Now?" that aims to help people adjust to life after treatment ends.
There are, in fact, many highly effective ways to cope with tricky post-treatment issues. But without expert guidance, few people know where
to begin. "The fear that cancer will come back again is huge for me," says Christina. "It's impossible to ignore. There are reminders everywhere, on TV, the newspaper, the internet. Other people also say things without realising the impact they're having –
more than once I've had people tell me about someone they know whose cancer came back, spread and killed them."
In fact, Christina's cancer has already returned, twice. And she has also had to contend with complications from breast reconstructions (so
far she has had four reconstructive surgeries). She is now cancer-free and "determined to enjoy life to the full". But still, whenever she feels unwell the fear sets in and – despite a supportive family – she says that she can feel very alone.
"My GP is brilliant," she explains, "But there's only so much she can do. The consultants are absolutely inundated, and understandably, since I don't have cancer, I can't be their top priority. But I also know that all three times my cancer
was dismissed at first by doctors, so it can be terrifying, if I feel an unusual symptom, to be told to wait and see."
None of this must dampen the brilliant news about falling death rates. But there is a clear message behind the headlines, and
one that must not be ignored: NHS post-cancer treatment services need to change dramatically.
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Yes, some breast cancer grows in the presence of estrogen, and yes, soy can act like estrogen. But there’s
no direct link saying soy can cause cancer. In some animal studies, pure isoflavones, the compound in soy bearing the chemical similarities to estrogen, have been shown
to promote tumor growth, HuffPost Healthy Living’s Meredith Melnick reported. However, humans both process isoflavones differently than rodents and isoflavone supplements vary greatly from dietary soy.
studies of humans who get high amounts of dietary soy, findings have shown either no link to breast cancer or lower rates of the disease. “Even though animal studies have shown mixed effects on breast cancer with soy supplements, studies in humans have not shown harm from eating soy foods,” Marji McCullough, ScD, RD,
strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society wrote for the organization. “Moderate consumption of soy foodsappears safe for both breast cancer survivors and the general population, and may even lower breast cancer risk.”
EXCLUSIVE: Shannen Doherty Reveals Her Breast Cancer Has Spread: 'The Unknown Is the Scariest Part'
Published on Aug 2, 2016 Shannen Doherty - Shannen Doherty shaves head in cancer battle
Shannen Doherty has some devastating news about her battle with breast cancer.The 45-year-old actress reveals her cancer has spread in an exclusive sit-down with ET."I had breast cancer that spread to the lymph nodes, and from one of my surgeries we discovered that some of the cancer cells might have actually gone out of the lymph nodes," Doherty tells ET's Jennifer Peros. "So for that reason, we are doing chemo, and then after chemo, I'll do radiation."Doherty also reveals she had a single mastectomy in May and is open about the most difficult part of fighting cancer."The unknown is always the scariest part," she shares. "Is the chemo going to work? Is the radiation going to work? You know, am I going to have to go through this again, or am I going to get secondary cancer? Everything else is manageable. Pain is manageable, you know living without a breast is manageable, it's the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love."But Doherty has found amazing support from her team of doctors, including the surgeon who performed her mastectomy."He didn't want me to wake up with absolutely nothing," she recalls. "It was very important to him that I didn't have that experience, and so, he put an expander in, so I have a tiny something there. It's cute and sometimes we fill it up and make it bigger, and sometimes we reduce it.""I'm being so personal right now," she acknowledges. "But I think a lot of women can probably go, 'Yeah, I've been through that.' It's great though, you get to pick out what size you want."Still, Doherty did have an emotional reaction to getting fitted for a new bra."It was traumatic and horrible, and I didn't think anything of it at the time, then my mom went with me and I broke down crying in the dressing room and ran out," she recalls, now able to laugh about it. "And then sat in the car crying."Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2015, and has undergone three out of eight rounds of chemotherapy so far. One of the more difficult experiences has been losing her iconic hair -- the long dark locks and blunt bangs she has sported since her Brenda Walsh days.Thankfully the Beverly Hills, 90210 actress has the support of her mom, best friends, and her husband of five years, Kurt Iswarienko. With their help she was able to turn a heartbreaking moment into an inspiring one when she shared photos of herself shaving her head earlier this month."After my second treatment, my hair was really matted, like in dreadlocks. And I went to try and brush it out, and it just fell out," Doherty recalls. "I just remember holding onto huge clumps of my hair in my hands, and just running to my mom crying, like, 'My hair, my hair, my hair, my hair.'""It was just shedding and it was driving me crazy," she continues. "It was just clumps, and I was like, 'Just grab the kitchen scissors.' And my mom's like, 'Wait, wait, wait.' I'm just, like, 'Grab it.' She went and grabbed the kitchen scissors, and put it in a ponytail and she just chopped it off. And it was this cute little bob, but it wasn't enough, you know, it was falling out."
Canadian authorities have admitted that a patch of an unapproved, genetically modified strain of wheat has been found in the wild, well outside of old Monsanto test areas, but hope the unfortunate discovery won’t hamper exports.
The crop, of unknown origin, was first discovered on an access road in Alberta last year, after it survived the spraying of the area with herbicide, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) saidThursday. After conducting thorough tests on the samples, the watchdog concluded that the crop was “genetically modified and herbicide-tolerant,” and was never approved for commercial
use or production within Canada. The agency then narrowed down the producer of the crop to be Monsanto, the agrochemical and biotechnology giant.
“CFIA confirmed that the Alberta wheat sample was a match for a Monsanto GM wheat line (MON71200), which was used in multiple confined research field trials in the late 1990s and early 2000s in
both Canada and the United States,” the watchdog said in its report.
Genetically-modified wheat is not approved to be grown for commercial use anywhere in the world due to food safety concerns. Both the US and Canada have previously conducted field trials on GMO wheat.
It remains a mystery how the strain got into the wild more than 62 miles (100 km) away from any known former test fields. The size of the contaminated
patch is also unclear. Authorities, however, are adamant that no GM wheat has entered the country's commercial system, and hope that the discovery will not interfere with the export trade of one of the world’s largest wheat exporters.
government is going to provide information to allow our trading partners to make informed, science-based decisions to continue trading in Canadian wheat,” said Kathleen Donohue, executive director of market access at Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada is reasonably worried
that some of its customers might reconsider deals, pending further investigation. For instance, back in 2016, Japan and South Korea temporarily suspended imports of some US wheat, after a discovery of GMO wheat developed by Monsanto.
that the strain has not been found anywhere in the country’s commercial fields outside of that one “isolated site,” the CFIA vowed to monitor the area of discovery for the next three years. The discovered GM crop has, meanwhile,
been destroyed, with Health Canada reassuring the public that the “finding does not pose a food safety risk.”
Monsanto told RT in an emailed comment that “CFIA took the lead on inspection activities associated
with this matter and has found no evidence to show that transgenic wheat is in commerce. On May 9, 2018, risk assessments examining potential implications of this wheat to food, animal feed and the environment were completed by Health Canada and CFIA. These
risk assessments determined that this wheat does not pose any risk. There are no food, feed or environmental safety concerns associated with glyphosate tolerance in plants.”
well there goes the Canadian wheat crop. It has been shown that Monsanto's Roundup
Ready crops do cross pollinate with normal varieties. Monsanto should be sued just like they sued Canadian farmers when their Frankenfoods were found on farms that didn't use their seeds.
probably a half million "isolated" acres
No mystery how it got there. Birds eat the seeds then fly for thousands of miles and crap it out somewhere else. And the cycle continues. Life finds a wa
I think you have a typo in your reply. You said "warming" instead of "cooling". The last two years have produced the largest drop in global temperature in over a century. the period from Feb to June
2016 was the biggest drop in temperature ever! The global warming hoax is over.
Do a search for "Earth in ‘Greatest Two-Year Cooling Event in a Century’ Shock".
The data for the article comes from NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Mainstream western mass media will never report this. The LA times, The Guardian and Scientific American are well know establishment outlets for disinformation.
What happens when Ziocorporations run the show behind the smoke and mirrors of democracy. Monsanto should be outlawed along with all the corporate class.
Well, stands to reason Monsanto is going to take the Canadian government to court... and win just like when it took American farmers to court. And won.what a bunch of tw@ts.
only reason for GMO foods is to sell LOTS of pesticides, which people then eat and suffer as a result. The day will come when GMO foods will be unsaleable and organic, unmodified foods will be highly prized.
Monsanto produced a seed product that has been condemned throughout the whole planet. Think about that.
Soon it will be Bayor GMO. Companies
were never allowed to merge in the past if it ruined competition. Now it's all about money instead of getting to know your neighbor.
One finds illegal Monsanto-Bayer GMO soy and cereals in
Don't you worry. 80% of the American food supply is polluted with GMO's. I see a bright future for depopulation.
this gmo things are a BAD IDEA what
about the fungi bacteria gmo mutation present in also humans now? yes those types of tumors...
this gmo things are a BAD IDEA what about the fungi bacteria gmo mutation present in also
humans now? yes those types of tumors...