Together we will beat cancer

  • We released figures showing prostate cancer death rates have fallen by a fifth in the last 20 years. Take a look at our infographic along with the BBC and Guardian coverage for more details.
  • And the Office for National Statistics released new cancer survival figures. The Telegraph and the Independent had a breakdown of the numbers, emphasising the need for continued improvement in early diagnosis and treatment.
  • There were several stories about potential new cancer tests this week. The BBC covered research into the genetic make-up of lung cancer and how understanding the differences between tumours could help guide treatment selection in the future.
  • And in another article the BBC and the Mail Online covered research into markers of breast cancer that could help diagnose the disease. It’s important to remember that it’s early days for all of these potential ‘tests’. But they do show the path that scientists – including our own – are following to help better diagnose and treat cancer in the future.
  • Key genetic changes behind two rare teenage bone tumours were uncovered by UK researchers. Our news story has the details.
  • A new European report concluded that there’s no evidence to suggest that PIP breast implants increase the risk of breast cancer. The Guardian covered the research and NHS choices went into detail about what a PIP implant is and what the report shows.
  • Research from our scientists found that some bowel cancer patients are missing out on potentially life-saving liver surgery. See the press release for more info.
  • The BBC covered research highlighting a rise in breast cancer rates in women under 40 across several countries in Europe. The research did not include the UK and more research will be needed to identify the cause of the rise.
  • New research from our scientists revealed that a drug already in clinical development could be a potential treatment for brain tumours. It’s important to remember this is early-stage lab research so we’ve yet to test the potential benefit in people. See our press release for more details.
  • November is Mouth Cancer Action Month and we have joined 16 other organisations and experts to release a joint statement about the disease. It covers prevention, early diagnosis and what we can all do to help cut the number of people that get or die from mouth cancer each year.

And finally

  • We’ve been following a very informative blog series from Scientific American. They’ve been covering 10 key principles that are shared across different types of cancer. This week they published the sixth, which focuses on cancer spread.


Images courtesy of Jon s, via Flickr.


Kat Arney December 23, 2013

Hi Dana, I’m sorry but we can’t answer medical questions on the blog. If you’re in the UK you can call our Cancer Information Nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Best wishes,

Dana December 22, 2013

If someone has bone cancer in few places and before he managed breast cancer & it disappeared … & radiotherapy is used now to manage bone cancer … How do they implant – replace new cells instead cancer cells?

celia November 7, 2013

Hello Nick
So are you saying that bisphenol A plays no role in human breast cancer.

Nick Peel November 6, 2013

Hi Celia,

The study we mention in the blog used information from 7 different European countries, but didn’t include the UK. However, as we reported earlier this year, we know that breast cancer rates have been rising in women under the age of 50 in the UK.

As with the European study, this is likely to be for a variety of reasons which could include factors influencing hormone levels, such as increases in the number of women using hormonal contraceptives like the Pill, or an increasing tendency to have fewer children, later in life, or fewer women breastfeeding. And lifestyle factors, such as an increase in drinking alcohol among women, are also likely to play a role. Research has estimated that each year in the UK the Pill causes around 530 cases of breast cancer in women under the age of 50, whereas alcohol is responsible for around 1300 cases in this age group.

Despite a variety of rumours on the internet, there’s no convincing evidence that things like drinking from plastic bottles or using plastic containers or films in the microwave can cause breast cancer.

As well as cutting back on alcohol, women can help reduce their risk of breast cancer by being more active and keeping to a healthy weight. It’s also a good idea to get to know your breasts, and visit the doctor if you notice any unusual or persistent changes.

Best wishes,
Nick, Science Media Officer

celia November 2, 2013

Could the rise in breast cancer be down to the pill! And could plastics be involved.