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.

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(Afinitor, Novartis) and ibrutinib for mantle cell lymphoma (Imbruvica, Janssen) do not meet the grade, says NICE in draft guidance now open for consultation.Nice_logo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

Frozen tissue service offers fertility hope to young people with cancer

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Scientists at Edinburgh University have developed a service to store testicular tissue from boys as young as 1 who are at risk of infertility because of cancer treatment. In future boys as well as girls might be able to have their fertility restored subsequent to chemotherapy.

The announcement comes after the birth of the first UK baby to be born after his mother had a transplant of her own, previously frozen, ovary tissue.

Review of Cancer Drugs Funds list leads to changes

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) has today completed a further review of the effectiveness of treatments it funds to ensure it delivers the best outcomes for patients. The fund will no longer pay for 16 medicines used to treat a variety of cancers, including breast prostate and pancreatic cancer.

An update on the list can be found here

BBC Health News also recently reported the changes, read the news item here

The decision summaries can be found on NHS England website 

Long term NSAIDs are associated with lower colorectal cancer risk, study shows

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Taking low dose aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) continuously in the long term is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, a Danish case-control study has shown.

The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, analysed data on drug use, comorbid conditions, and history of colonoscopy from Danish prescription and patient registries.

NICE Guideline updated to support GP’s and help diagnose cancer faster


NICE has updated and redesigned its guideline to support GP’s in recognising the signs and symptoms of 37 different cancers and to aid faster referral  for the right tests.

The guideline focuses on the symptoms that a patient might experience and present with in surgeries. It should enable GP’s to monitor people presenting with less severe symptoms, so that fewer cancers are missed.

NICE hope that the guideline will make its recommendations easier for GP’s to use, speeding  up the referral process and make diagnosis quicker.

Find the NICE Guideline: NG12 Suspected Cancer : Recognition and Referral 

Read the full story here

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.

Experts call for tobacco industry to pay for smoking cessation work

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The tobacco industry should be forced to pay towards smoking cessation efforts in England as part of a new national tobacco control strategy, a multi-agency report has claimed.

Experts have called for a national annual levy on tobacco companies, fresh targets such as a drop in smoking rates to 5% by 2035, a new five year government tobacco strategy for England, and an increase to the tax escalator on tobacco products to 5% above the level of inflation.

Diagnosis and treatment of cancer using genomics

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The field of cancer diagnostics is in constant flux as a result of the rapid discovery of new genes associated with cancer, improvements in laboratory techniques for identifying disease causing events, and novel analytic methods that enable the integration of many different types of data. These advances have helped in the identification of novel, informative biomarkers

Vegetarians have lower risk of colon cancers, study finds

thebmj_logoVegetarian diets are associated with an overall lower incidence of colorectal cancers, a large prospective cohort trial has found.

The US study, published online by JAMA Internal Medicine, included 77 659 men and women who were assessed by a food frequency questionnaire and categorised into four vegetarian groups (vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and semi-vegetarian) or a non-vegetarian group. During a mean follow-up of 7.3 years 380 cases of colon cancer and 110 cases of rectal cancer were recorded.

Study shows statin use is associated with lower risk of liver cancer

thebmj_logoTaking a statin is associated with a near halving of the risk of liver cancer, show the results of a new study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Previous research has linked statins to a reduced risk of liver cancer, but much of the evidence has been from areas of the world with high rates of this type of cancer. So, researchers analysed data from the United Kingdom to investigate the effects of taking statins in a country with a relatively low incidence of liver cancer.

Acute oncology on the acute medical unit

Royal College of Physicians (RCP)

Acute oncology on the acute medical unit
This toolkit aims to improve the care of cancer patients admitted to hospital as an emergency with medical problems due to their cancer or their treatment. It stresses the importance of patients having access to cancer specialists as soon as possible, and suggests that NHS trusts set up acute oncology services, which can work with the team in the acute medical unit to help in the management of patients with acute oncology problems.

NICE guidance – updates

Keeping you up-to-datenice 1

Guidance by topic: the following guidance topics matching your health area preferences have been published or updated


News from Health Technology Assessments

Cancer drug can treat blindness finds HTA funded research

A cheap cancer drug is just as effective and safe in treating a common cause of loss of vision as an expensive alternative, finds research funded by the NIHR HTA Programme. [more…] 

Liver function tests not efficient in identifying specific disease

Liver function tests (LFTs) result in many false positive results for each case of disease detected, and are not an efficient way to diagnose liver disease. They should be used sparingly in primary care, concludes a study funded by the NIHR HTA Programme. [more…]

Study to compare haemorrhoid treatments

A study funded by the NIHR HTA Programme could change the standard procedure for treating the painful condition of haemorrhoids. [more…]

NIHR Themed Call: Early Announcement – UPDATE

We are pleased to announce that the NIHR Antimicrobial Resistance themed call has now launched. Application forms are available from participating programmes’ websites between July and December 2013, with the HTA and EME Programmes opening first. This call is for research into the evaluation of public health measures, health care interventions and health services to reduce the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance and consequent morbidity. [more…]






Funding opportunities

Commissioned research


The broader brief – a new way of commissioning


We are launching a new initiative to potentially commission a number of varied research proposals under the same research brief. This broader brief is in the field of MRI scanning in planning epilepsy surgery. Deadline for applications is 1pm on 29 August 2013. Full details, application forms and guidance notes are available on the HTA website. [more…]




Evidence Synthesis: one stage (full proposal)

Proposals are invited on three topics. The deadline for applications is 1pm on 29 August 2013. Full details, application forms and guidance notes are available on the HTA website. [more…]


Primary Research: two stage (outline to full proposal)

Proposals are invited on 20 topics. Deadline for applications is 1pm on 29 August 2013. Full details and guidance for applicants are available on the HTA website. [more…]


Clinical Evaluation and Trials

Applications are considered three times a year. The next cut-off deadline for proposals is 1pm on 2 September 2013. Full details, application forms and guidance notes are available on the HTA website. [more…]

Clinical Evaluation and Trials upcoming cut-off dates

6 January 2014

12 May 2014

8 September 2014 

EC NHS Trust supports Lung Cancer Awareness Campaign

East Cheshire NHS Trust is supporting the Department of Health’s Lung Cancer Awareness Campaign ‘Been coughing for 3 weeks? Tell your doctor.’

Lung cancer claimed around 99 lives in Eastern Cheshire in 2012, and 148 people were diagnosed in the same time period. This makes it one of the area’s biggest causes of death.   

For further information about the national lung cancer awareness campaign visit the Department of Health website

Health Matters – Tuesday 14 May

The topic this month is “East Cheshire NHS Trust – Researching Today for a Better Tomorrow”

Members of our Clinical Research Team are delivering the next Health Matters public talk on Tuesday, 14 May, 7.00-8.00pm, in the new Lecture Theatre at Macclesfield District General Hospital. 

The Trust is actively involved in research in a number of key areas including cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, medicines for children, cardiology, haematology, rheumatology, and stroke.

The purpose of this Health Matters talk is to demystify clinical trials, explain how they work, and look at some of the exciting research currently under way. The session will be introduced by Dr Susan Knight, and the talk will be given by our research nurses including Clare Vandor, Barbara Townley, Beverley Jones, and Joanne Shippey.

Members of staff are welcome to come along – to book your place please contact the Communications and Engagement Department on 01625 661560 or email us at

Breast reconstruction presentation: Tuesday, 7th May

Mr Jalal Kokan, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, is giving a presentation entitled ‘Breast Reconstruction’ on 7th May 2013, 5.30 – 7pm.

The free event is being held in the Macmillan Cancer Resource Centre, Macclesfield District General Hospital. Breast care nurses will also be present to answer any questions, and light refreshments will be available.
For more information or to book your place, please call 01625 663079 or email

Kings Fund: Statistics for March/April

WebWatch: Cancer Commons

Extract from website at:


CANCER COMMONS “is an open science initiative linking patients, physicians and scientists in rapid learning communities. Our mission is to ensure that patients are treated in accord with the latest knowledge on targeted- and immunotherapies, and to continually update that knowledge based on each patient’s response.”


Advisory boards, comprising leading physicians and scientists in each cancer, curate the molecular model that identifies the most relevant tests, treatments, and trials for each molecular sub type of that cancer, based on the best current knowledge.

Test and Treat

Patients and physicians access knowledge derived from the model, as soon as it’s deemed actionable, through alerts, notifications, news, and applications that inform testing and treatment decisions.

Report and Analyze

Physicians, researchers, and patients report clinical observations and outcomes and new data are analyzed in our Rapid Learning Communities by collaborative, interinstitutional teams to validate, refute, and amplify the current model’s knowledge and hypotheses.


The advisory boards review these results and update the framework in real time.

News from NICE

NICE recommends blood pressure device that can help prevent strokes

A new device that allows GPs and practice nurses to detect pulse irregularities and pick up cases of atrial fibrillation whilst measuring blood pressure has been recommended by NICE.   Atrial fibrillation (AF) causes the heart to beat with an irregular rhythm. It can be difficult to detect and subsequently diagnose as it is often asymptomatic and can be intermittent.

People with AF are at increased risk of developing blood clots and subsequent stroke, with 423,000 people aged 65 and over expected to have AF, of whom some will be will living with the condition yet are undiagnosed.

In its medical technology guidance on WatchBP Home A, NICE says the device reliably detects AF and may increase the rate of detection when used in primary care. This will consequently allow for preventative treatment to be given and to reduce the incidence of AF-related stroke.

Statement of collaboration between NICE and Public Heath England
NICE and Public Health England agreed to collaborate on future work.
February 8, 2013
Dementia, stroke and cancer among potential indicators for latest CCG Outcomes Indicator Set
Dementia, stroke, cancer, and end-of-life care are among 32 new indicators put forward for inclusion in the Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set (CCG OIS).
February 4, 2013
Have your say on NICE’s social care work 
The Department of Health has launched a 12 week consultation to gather views on the topics for NICE’s new quality standards and guidance for social care.
February 1, 2013