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GP check 'vital' if people 'notice anything unusual'

It is "vital" people check with their GPs as soon as something unusual happens to their bodies if they want the best chance to beat cancer, according to a healthy charity.

Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK explained:

Diagnosing cancer at its earliest stages is crucial to give patients the best chance of survival.

There are a number of reasons why cancer may be diagnosed at an advanced stage.

For some cancers, such as pancreatic, symptoms are often only noticeable once the tumour has already started to spread. But for many others there are chances for the cancer to be picked up earlier.

It's vital that people are aware of their body and if they notice anything unusual for them they should visit their GP. And GPs play a critical role of course, knowing when symptoms need to be investigated and referring patients promptly for tests.

– Sara Hiom


'Killer' cell finding 'key to fighting breast cancer'

Scientists behind the discovery that sufferers of aggressive breast cancer stand a better chance of survival if they have "killer" T-cells near their tumour said the finding was "key" to a better understanding of how to fight the disease.

Professor Peter Johnson,Cancer Research UK chief clinician, explained:

This research highlights the great strides we are making in understanding the complex interplay between cancer and the body's immune system.

These studies are key to informing how we are best able to treat patients in the clinic and to design better drugs that make the best use of the body's own defences.

Prostate cancer patients' survival rates improve most

Survival rates for testicular cancer had jumped from 69 percent to 98 percent, and for malignant skin cancer from 46 percent to 89 percent, a major new study shows.

Researchers looking at data from over 7 million patients found an increase in survival rates from the 1970s, when just a quarter of patients lived as long as 10 years.

The chart bellow shows the survival rates improvements. Each arrow illustrates the increase in survival rates between 1971 and 2011.

All cancers rates improved from 25 percent in 1971 to 50 percent in 2011.

Adult 10-year net survival, England & Wales Credit: Cancer Research UK

The chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Dr Harpal Kumarhas, told ITV News the survival rates reflect the "enormous progress" in cancer treatment.

Dr Kumar added that for many patients the survival time would be "very much longer" than 10 years.

Women with breast cancer now had a 78 percent chance of surviving at least a decade, compared with 40 percent in 1971. Similarly, the proportion of men living 10 years with prostate cancer had jumped from 25 percent to around 80 percent.

But it was not all good news. The outlook remained bleak for patients with the deadliest forms of cancer.

Fewer than 5 percent of people diagnosed with lung and pancreatic cancer could expect to live 10 years, and for oesophageal and brain cancers decade-long survival was no more than 15 percent.

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