Pancreatic cancer urgently needs more research – to detect the disease sooner, improve treatments and save lives. Just 3 per cent of people with this cancer survive for five years or more.
People affected by pancreatic cancer may be wondering how this affects them, and if or when the new drug will be available.
Unfortunately, these media stories aren’t driven by new data about the drug’s effectiveness – and we still need to wait for the trial to finish, and the data to be analysed, before we know if the drug will work. This will take at least a year, and even then there may need to be follow-up studies.
Tackling pancreatic, oesophageal and lung cancer is one of the biggest challenges facing cancer researchers today. Together more than 55,000 people are diagnosed with these cancers every year in the UK, yet survival rates have changed little over the last few decades.
An inspiring session at the NCRI Cancer Conference last week showed just how passionate researchers and doctors are about making a difference for people with these diseases.
The session was chaired by Professor Herbie Newell of the Northern Institute for Cancer Research in Newcastle.
He explained that the increases in numbers of people surviving cancer in the UK are ‘a good news story but also a bad news story’. Good, because overall average survival has doubled when we look across all cancers as a whole, but bad because of the lack of improvement in these particularly hard-to-treat cancers.
Against this background, the three speakers in the session were keen to show the immense effort that’s being made to improve treatment for oesophageal, pancreatic and lung cancer – or ‘the bad boys and girls of the class’ as Professor Newell described them. Personalising treatment was a key theme running through all the talks. Continue reading
The excellent NHS Choices Behind the Headlines blog has a trio of intriguing cancer stories this week.
First, they look at the science behind five tips that “could cut the risk of bowel cancer” by nearly a quarter. These tips appeared in media stories that were based on a large study involving more than 50,000 people in Denmark.
Reassuringly, these aren’t faddy foods or impossible exercise regimes, but sensible, evidence-based health messages. One in four cases of bowel cancer could be prevented if people drank less alcohol, cut down on red meat, took more exercise, watched their waist size and stopped smoking.
NHS Choices points out:
“These findings are further evidence that lifestyle factors affect the risk of cancer, including colorectal cancer. Although the greatest reduction in risk is seen when people follow the recommendations in all areas, just sticking to the guidelines in one additional area reduces a person’s risk.”
In this month’s podcast, we take a look at radiotherapy – the ‘Cinderella’ of cancer treatments – and ask what can be done to improve the situation. We also find out about research revealing a genetic ‘volume control’ for some inherited breast cancers. Plus, there’s news of important results from a clinical trial in pancreatic cancer, providing an extra life-line for patients.
Finally, we catch up with TV presenter Gaby Roslin at the recent Bobby Moore Fund sports ball, which raised over £180,000 for Cancer Research UK’s vital work into bowel cancer. Gaby shares the story of her dad, who survived the disease, and chats to us about the importance of bowel cancer awareness.
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Pancreatic cancer comes with stark statistics attached. Often not diagnosed until it has spread, it’s one of the most difficult types of cancer to treat. Fewer than one in five patients (16 per cent) survive for more than a year after diagnosis.
The good news is that progress is being made – survival rates have increased since the 1970s, when only half as many patients survived this long. But it’s easy to see that there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
A recent study into a new approach to treatment and a new clinical trial testing an experimental drug both highlight the science behind our search for better treatments for pancreatic cancer. Continue reading
The claims were based on a new study, led by Mark Pereira from the University of Minnesota and colleagues in Singapore. It was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.
The new research is interesting but, on its own, it’s not enough to conclude that soft drinks cause pancreatic cancer. In fact, the existing evidence in this area is inconsistent – some studies have linked soft drinks to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, but others disagree.
But the new study does raise some unanswered questions.