Live updates

Charity: Research 'the only way' to beat cancer

A cancer scientist has called for more research into cancer after figures showed a rise in the number of people diagnosed with the disease.

Cancer Research UK's chief executive Dr Harpal Kumar said:

These figures reinforce the vital need for more research to better prevent, treat and cure cancer.

As the population ages, more people than ever before will be told: 'you have cancer'.

Research is the only way we'll be able to reduce the devastating impact of the disease.

One day we will beat cancer. The more research we do, the sooner that day will come.

– chief executive of Cancer Research UK Dr Harpal Kumar

Read more: Cancer diagnoses 'soar' over last 40 years

Cancer diagnoses 'soar' over last 40 years

The number of people suffering from cancer has soared since the 1970s, a leading health charity has warned.

According to data released by Cancer Research UK:

  • In 1975 around 295 of every 100,000 people were diagnosed with some form of cancer.
  • This number rose to almost 400 by 2011.
  • Cancer Research blamed an ageing population and lifestyle factors, like excessive drinking or being overweight for the rise.
  • While the rates are going up, the number of people surviving the disease is also on the rise.
  • In the 1970s just 23% of cancer patients survived for 10 years, this climbed to 46% in 2007.

Read more: Cancer diagnoses numbers rise to 330,000

Advertisement

Cancer diagnoses numbers rise to 330,000

The number of people diagnosed with some form of cancer reached almost a third of a million in 2011, Cancer Research have said.

Read more: Some cancer deaths 'set to halve by 2020'

elderly
The rise in the number of people diagnosed with cancer is being blamed on a growing elderly population. Credit: PA

More than 330,000 people were found to have the disease where as ten years ago 283,000 were diagnosed, the health charity said.

The charity said that the rates of diagnosis have soared by more than a third since the mid 1970s.

Britain's ageing population was one of the reasons behind the rise in cancer rates, according to the charity.

Read more: Cancer death rates drop by a fifth over 20 years

Read more: Huddleston haircut raises £36,000 for cancer charity

88% want doctors to check cancer symptoms further

The overwhelming majority of cancer patients would like doctors to check their symptoms much sooner than they currently do, research suggests.

Read more: 'Surveillance' to be offered in some prostate cancer cases

Cancer
Most patients want doctors to check if they have cancer, even if there is only a 1% chance. Credit: PA

At least 88% of the 3,649 people who were quizzed by scientists from Bristol University, the University of Exeter Medical School and the University of Cambridge, said they wanted doctors to investigate their symptoms further.

The participants, all over 40, said they wanted further tests done even if there was only a 1% chance of having cancer.

There are no fixed thresholds in the UK, but in practice, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines suggest patients need to have symptoms which indicate a five per cent risk or higher before further tests for most cancers are carried out.

Dr Jonathan Banks, of Bristol University, said: "This large study provides a clear and comprehensive account of public preference for investigation for cancer."

Read more: Cancer death rates drop by a fifth over 20 years

Test to spot most aggressive type of prostate cancer

A new genetic test has been developed that can distinguish the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

The test will help doctors tell apart slow-growing and aggressive cancers, enabling them to respond with the most appropriate treatments.

A testicular cancer tumour, seen under a microscope inside a testis. The tumour is between 10 and 30 years of age.
A testicular cancer tumour, seen under a microscope inside a testis. The tumour is between 10 and 30 years of age. Credit: ITV News

One of the biggest problems involved in treating prostate cancer is knowing what kind of disease a patient has. The new Prolaris test measures the activity of genes that drive cell division and provides a Cell Cycle Progression (CCP) score.

A one unit increase in CCP score was found roughly to double the risk of prostate cancer death or recurrence. The test should eventually mean that doctors will not have to "overtreat" patients with strong, debilitating drugs. Professor Jack Cuzick, the study author from University of London said:

"Over-treatment of prostate cancer is a serious issue so it's essential that we have an accurate way of spotting those cancers that pose an immediate risk. For patients with slow-growing tumours, it's far safer and kinder to watch and wait - only acting if the situation starts to change.

"We've shown this test is accurate at telling apart these two different tumour types at many different stages of treatment. [...]

"We want to try and shorten the time it takes to get the results and establish how frequently the test needs to be done in order to be most effective at spotting any changes."

Advertisement

Early diagnosis 'crucial' in fight against cancer

Early diagnosis and screening is a crucial tool in the fight against cancer and makes a significant difference to survival rates of all types of cancer, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK said.

Cancer Research UK Harpal Kumar with Lawrence McGinty at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool Credit: ITV news

In an interview with Science and Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty, Harpal Kumar said:

"Early diagnosis is incredibly important for cancer, and it is true that it is important across just about every type of cancer.

"We know that for the vast majority of cases, the earlier we detect it, the greater the chances of successful treatment, and often for the patient, must less gruelling treatment, so it really can make an enormous difference."

Teenagers 'tempted' by novelty cigarette packaging

Glamorous cigarette packaging tempts young people who have never smoked to take up the habit, research suggests.

A Cancer Research UK-funded study found youngsters preferred novelty packaging from leading cigarette manufacturers to plain packs.

Glamorous cigarette packaging tempts young people who have never smoked to take up the habit, research suggests. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

It comes after research earlier this month from the same department at the University of Stirling found that putting graphic warnings on the back of cigarette packs had little impact on teen smokers.

Read: Pics 'don't stop teen smokers'

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories