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Call for more nurses as breast cancer cases soar

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer has risen by almost 20% in a decade but with no additional investment in nursing, a charity has said.

Breast Cancer Care said patient care for breast cancer - the most common and fastest rising cancer in women - was being negatively impacted by a lack of specialist nurses.

increase in breast cancer cases in England 2003-2013
the number of specialist breast cancer nurses has remained steady since 2007

The rise in cases is being fueled by the increasingly ageing population, along with rises in obesity levels and alcohol intake.

Breast Cancer Care said specialist nurses are crucial to giving patients support from diagnosis to recovery, and called for an increase in staffing levels.

We know NHS England's budgets are tight, but as the number of breast cancer cases rises, action is needed to address this now.

– Samia al Qadhi, chief executive, Breast Cancer Care


One in 10 with breast cancer offered fertility treatment

A study has found only one in 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer are being offered the chance to have fertility treatment, despite the disease leaving them potentially unable to have children.

One in 10 women with breast cancer offer fertility treatment. Credit: PA

According to Breast Cancer Care, 88% of women under 45 were not referred to a fertility clinic to discuss the possibility of freezing eggs or embryos ahead of cancer treatment.

The charity said this is leaving an estimated 5,000 younger breast cancer patients across the UK missing out on fertility care, despite cancer treatment potentially leaving them unable to have children in future.

Breast cancer drug 'could extend life by five years'

Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive

A new breast cancer drug could extend the lives of patients with an advanced form of the disease by almost five years, a study has found.

Women with an aggressive type of cancer could benefit from using perjeta as a combination with chemotherapy and the drug herceptin, researchers said.

Trials into the effectiveness of the combination treatment found survival rates among women with previously untreated advanced HER2-positive breast cancer was extended by more than four and a half years.

UK study lead Professor David Miles, consultant oncologist at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in London, said: "These results are impressive.

"They show a magnitude of survival benefit which we have never seen before in advanced breast cancer, let alone this particular type, previously regarded as having a poor prognosis and being difficult to treat."

Perjeta, manufactured by drug company Roche, is a targeted treatment which works to block cancer cell growth and cell signalling.

It is not currently available on the NHS but a final recommendation is yet to be issued.

Read more: 700,000 UK women at risk of 'hidden' breast cancer

'More must be done' to identify higher breast density

Doctors need to do more to identify women with higher breast density early in the battle against breast cancer, a leading health expert has said.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Campaign, said the mots effective way to stop the disease was to prevent from occurring in the first place.

The best weapon in overcoming breast cancer is the ability to stop the disease occurring in the first place. To do this, we need better ways to identify who is most at risk.

The emerging evidence on risk factors such as breast density, which we now know is putting hundreds of thousands of women at risk of developing breast cancer, must be taken into consideration and more must be done.

– Baroness Delyth Morgan
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