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(Afinitor, Novartis) and ibrutinib for mantle cell lymphoma (Imbruvica, Janssen) do not meet the grade, says NICE in draft guidance now open for consultation.Nice_logo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

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.