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Cancer risk test could boost screening programme

Research by Cambridge scientists could lead to routine tests for patients genetic risk of cancer within five years.

The study compared the DNA of more than 100,000 cancer patients with a similarly sized sample from the general population.

They used microchip technology capable of identifying more than 200,000 genetic variants, some of which were suspected of being linked to cancer.

More than 1,000 scientists from 130 institutions in Europe and the US took part in the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (Cogs).

We're on the verge of being able to use our knowledge of these genetic variations to develop tests that could complement breast cancer screening and take us a step closer to having an effective prostate cancer screening programme

– Professor Doug Easton - Cancer Research UK

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, which co-funded the research, said:

This groundbreaking international work highlights how complex cancer is.

Hundreds, if not thousands of genes are likely to play a role in how cancers start.

But by understanding why some people seem to be at greater risk of developing cancer we can look towards an era where we can identify them and take steps to reduce their chances of getting cancer or pick up the disease at its earliest stages."

Number of child smokers rises by 50,000 in a year

The number of children who have started smoking has risen by 50,000 in one year, research suggests.

Around 567 children start smoking each day, a charity has warned Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

In 2011, around 207,000 children aged 11 to 15, a sharp rise from 157,000 in 2010, Cancer Research UK said.

The charity estimated that about 567 children took up the habit each day, with one in three under-16s trying smoking at least once.

Read: New rules ban big retailers from promoting tobacco

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Prostate cancer 'needs more research'

Prostate cancer needs research. We have many questions and research is key to providing answers about the disease. As our population ages, growing numbers of men will be diagnosed with the disease.

Over the last 40 years prostate cancer incidence rates in Great Britain have tripled, and three-quarters of cases are diagnosed in men aged over 65 years.

– Professor Malcolm Mason, Prostate cancer expert

Cancer survival rate 'will rise in coming years'

These figures provide a glimpse into the future. On the plus side, our life expectancy is increasing but this also means more of us are likely to be diagnosed with cancer. It's only through research that we will be able to beat cancer. We need to do more work to understand what drives cancer and how we can prevent it, as well as developing new treatments to reduce the number of people who will die from it.

Understanding the biology of cancer is rather like completing a complex jigsaw puzzle. Many pieces have already fallen into place but we need more research before we can complete the picture. And thanks to the generosity of the public, our world-class scientists are playing a leading role in beating this devastating disease.

– Cancer Research UK's chief executive Dr Harpal Kumar

Rates of cancer 'set to soar' as people live longer

Age is the biggest risk factor for cancer and the increase in incident rates largely reflect the fact that people are living longer, experts have said.

Age is the biggest cancer risk, experts have warned Credit: PA Wire

The projections, from Cancer Research UK, are based on past incidence and death rates and assume a continuation of trends.

They do not take into account new forms of treatment, lifestyle and environmental changes that might alter future cancer rates.

The cancers set to affect people most in the next 15 years are prostate, bowel and melanoma (skin).

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Report: Half of men to get cancer by 2027

Half of all British men are likely to be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime by the year 2027, experts predict.

Experts have warned that one in two men will get cancer by 2027 Credit: Science photo library

Men in the UK currently have a 44% chance of developing the disease.

Women's risk is also expected to increase from 40% to 44% in the next 15 years.

63% want to see Oz's plain cigarette pack law in UK

Cigarettes on display in a shop in Glasgow.
The government has launched a consultation on plans to enforce standardised packaging for tobacco products. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Nearly two-thirds of people in the UK want to see cigarette packages stripped of their logos, as Australia becomes the first country in the world to put all tobacco products in standardised packs.

Cigarette packs and other products sold in Australia will be in a plain dark brown colour, and show only the name of the brand and an accompanying health warning.

A questionnaire, conducted with 2,000 adults on behalf of Cancer Research UK, found that 63% of Brits were now in favour of adopting the plain packs.

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