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Let's beat cancer sooner

Could turkey meat contain immune-boosting molecules? Flickr/CC BY 2.0

  • A worrying Cancer Research UK study hit the headlines this week, showing that if trends continue half a million people will be diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK by 2035. That’s 150,000 extra cases of cancer each year, showing it’s more important than ever to boost our efforts on cancer prevention. You can check out our blog for a breakdown of what these numbers really mean.
  • It’s not always easy talking about your health and body. In a survey by Cancer Research UK, 4 in 10 people said having to talk through symptoms with receptionists could put them off going to see their doctor, which could potentially lead to delays in cancer diagnoses. Read our press release for more info, or check out the news.
  • Hailed a ‘game-changer’ by the media, an immunotherapy drug has shown promise in a new clinical trial for patients with head and neck cancer. Called nivolumab, this drug releases the immune system’s brakes so it can fight tumours, and boosted patient survival compared with chemo in the new study. The drug is already approved for advanced melanoma, so it’s great to see it showing potential for treating other forms of cancer.
  • It was a good week for immunotherapy, with another clinical trial showing that a drug called pembrolizumab significantly boosted survival in patients with a particular type of lung cancer compared to standard chemo. These patients had their tumours analysed first, bolstering the rationale for personalised treatment.

Number of the week


The number of people who will be diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK by 2035 if trends continue

  • Scientists thought pancreatic cancer developed and progressed through a series of genes becoming faulty over time. A new study contests that idea, finding that in some cases important genetic errors can take place all at once. This could have implications for diagnosing the disease and could help make much-needed improvements to the outlook for patients.
  • Another week, another widening waistline worry. A new US study has provided further evidence for the link between liver cancer and carrying too much weight. We’ve written about this growing issue of obesity on our blog, highlighting that it’s the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, linked to 13 forms of the disease.
  • Though that study may have focussed on adults, obesity in children is also incredibly concerning. This week we announced figures revealing that a staggering 1.7 million children in the UK started secondary school overweight or obese in the last decade.
  • We’ve long been saying that taxing sugary drinks could help with this rising obesity crisis, and now the World Health Organisation is backing this notion, according to various reports. Read our evidence supporting this move, which will be coming into play in England within the next 2 years.
  • Promising new techniques to scan tumours are often popping up, but getting them into the clinic can be difficult. A new study has identified the barriers to getting them adopted, and outlined recommendations to help them reach and therefore benefit patients sooner. Our press release has the details.

And finally…

  • Turkeys and pumpkins have more in common than that festive feeling: pumpkin seeds and turkey meat, among other foods, are rich in a molecule called L-arginine. And The Sun has reported on a lab study that found L-arginine can boost the effects of a type of immune cell called a T cell, which helps our bodies fight cancer cells. But that doesn’t mean stuffing your face this Christmas (or Thanksgiving) will reduce your risk of cancer: more work is needed to confirm the results.


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Kat October 15, 2016

RE: Receptionists could put people off seeing their GP

Unless professionally qualified, (in which case, probably would not be working as a receptionist) a receptionist should not be responsible for triage,.

But, as our NHS is being deliberately wound up. that is a small concern!