Reduction in breast cancer deaths is due to treatment not screening, finds study

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The fall in breast cancer mortality seen after widespread mammography screening was introduced in the US was mainly due to improved systemic therapy and not earlier detection of tumours, a comparison of national cancer data before and after the introduction of screening programmes has shown.

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Combined HRT may raise breast cancer risk, study finds

Women taking combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are 2.7 times more likely to develop breast cancer than non-users, and the risk may increase with longer use, a study published in the British Journal of Cancer has found.

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The researchers, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said that previous studies may have substantially underestimated the risk of breast cancer from combined HRT, as they did not update information about a woman’s HRT use or analyse accurately to allow for her age at menopause.

The new research was part of the Breast Cancer Now Generations Study, which is following more than 100 000 women for 40 years to investigate the causes of breast cancer.

NICE recommends dropping two drugs from Cancer Drugs Fund

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Two drugs currently provided under the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) should cease to be available because they are not cost effective, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has concluded.

Everolimus for breast cancer (Afinitor, Novartis) and ibrutinib for mantle cell lymphoma (Imbruvica, Janssen) do not meet the grade, says NICE in draft guidance now open for consultation.Nice_logo

Stress is unlikely to increase breast cancer risk, study finds

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A large prospective study, published in Breast Cancer Research, has found no association between breast cancer risk and stress levels or adverse life events.1 Women with breast cancer have often attributed their cancer to psychological stress, although the scientific evidence for this has been inconclusive.

The Generations study, set up by Breast Cancer Now, the United Kingdom’s largest breast cancer research charity, included 106 000 women in the UK.

Women are four times less likely to have curative surgery if breast cancer is diagnosed as emergency rather than urgent GP referral

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Women with breast cancer are four times less likely to have potentially curative surgery if their condition is diagnosed as an emergency rather than through an urgent GP referral, a report from Public Health England and Cancer Research UK has shown.

On a national level the report looked at how treatment varies in different cancers, depending on the patient’s route to diagnosis.

Fresh pair of eyes may speed up cancer diagnosis

Researchers have found that symptoms of bowel cancer tended to be identified slightly more quickly when patients consulted an unknown doctor rather than their usual GP.

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The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, included data for 2000 to 2009 from the General Practice Research Database. The study included around 18 500 patients with breast, bowel, or lung cancer whose relevant cancer symptoms or signs were identified up to 12 months before the eventual diagnosis.

BMJ Learning looks at Immunisation

How knowledgeable are you about the current immunisation schedule for children? What are the contraindications for vaccines? Can you reassure parents about immunisation myths? If not, then this module is for you. Childhood immunisation

Plus other popular modules in women’s health.

Urinary incontinence in women: in association with NICE

Heavy menstrual bleeding: in association with NICE

Suspected breast cancer: when you should refer – in association with NICE

Sexual health: contraception and unplanned pregnancy in young women