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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.

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."


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. 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."

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'

Put graphic images on both sides of the pack, say charity

Cancer research is pushing for graphic images to be on both sides of the pack so young smokers can be warned off the habit. Credit: PA

The Tobacco Journal's research into the relationship between teenagers and anti-smoking pictures on cigarettes packets has shown why graphic images need to be on both sides of the packaging, a health charity has said.

Alison Cox, head of tobacco policy for Cancer Research UK, explained:

"This research boosts the extensive evidence that picture health warnings are very effective in reminding smokers about the dangers of tobacco," she said.

"We know that well-placed picture warnings work and discourage young people from starting to smoke so we're delighted that the European Parliament will vote on legislation for picture warnings to appear on both sides of cigarette packs."

"UK law requires picture warnings to appear only on the back of the pack. This research shows why European legislation is so important."

Cancer survivors bare all for campaign

Make-up artist Carolyn Roper applies the finishing touches Credit: PA

A group of cancer survivors have had the bodies painted as part of a new campaign to raise awareness about the disease.

Cancer survivors Anna Smiles, Parminder Sangha, Linda Seal and Adam Hart had their bodies painted by make-up artist Carolyn Roper as part of a "human billboard" to launch Cancer Research UK's Beat Cancer Sooner campaign, at Victoria Station, London.

Each of the volunteers has survived cancer Credit: PA

Routine breast cancer screening for under forties

Recent changes to the programme for routine screening for breast cancer will see women in their forties invited, currently the screening is only offered to women aged 50 to 70.

Although breast cancer is more common in older women, it's worrying to see an increase in the number of younger women diagnosed with the disease.

More women than ever are surviving which is great news, however, more women are getting breast cancer and we must invest in vital research for new treatments and disease prevention.

– Chris Askew, chief executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer
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