Together we will beat cancer

  • New figures revealed that while things are improving, England’s cancer survival stills lags behind other countries with similar healthcare systems. The BBC, Daily Telegraph and Mail Online covered the new stats, and we took a closer look in this blog post.
  • Our scientists discovered that the genetic chaos within oesophageal cancers may help predict how patients will respond to chemotherapy. Here’s the press release, and we blogged about the study.
  • A potential ‘urine test’ for pancreatic cancer hit the headlines this week. But it’s not an actual test yet – just a research finding. We blogged about what the research really found.
  • And in more premature ‘test’ news, reports of a blood test to predict breast cancer appeared in the Mail Online. But once again, it’s too soon to be talking of tests based on this research – something we’ve blogged about before.
  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said it didn’t have enough data to make a decision on whether or not to approve an ovarian cancer drug. So it has asked the makers, AstraZeneca, for more. Our news report has the details, and here’s the Mail Online and Daily Telegraph’s take.
  • A re-evaluation of all the available evidence shows that women who’ve used the contraceptive Pill have a reduced risk of womb cancer for more than 30 years after coming off it. We covered this, and here’s the Guardian’s report.

Number of the week:


The number of cases of womb cancer that our research estimates have been avoided over the last decade in high-income countries, through widespread use of the contraceptive Pill

  • Our scientists in Birmingham discovered that neuroblastoma cells can produce a cellular ‘kryptonite’ that seems to sap the power from nearby immune cells, preventing them from attacking the disease. Here’s the press release, and we blogged about the study.
  • “Frequent spicy meals linked to human longevity,” says the Guardian. But the study in question only showed a weak link between eating spicy food almost every day and the risk of dying from cancer. So, as NHS Choices pointed out, there’s not a lot to take away from these findings.
  • BBC Radio 4 took an in-depth look at the tricky ethical issues that arise when teenagers with cancer decide they don’t want chemotherapy.
  • A charity chief executive questioned the speed with which a new immunotherapy treatment for lung cancer might be made available to NHS patients. The Daily Telegraph and Guardian have more on this, and we made this animation about how immunotherapy treatments work.
  • Laboratory research on melanoma found that signals between the tumour and the surrounding healthy skin might play a role in how the disease spreads. The Mail Online covered this, but there’s still some way to go before this could lead to new treatments.
  • Government guidelines for alcohol consumption, which are under review, came under scrutiny this week as a new study questioned how ‘realistic’ recommendations are. People seemed to prefer the Australian approach of different guidelines for long- and short-term risks – finding it easier to relate to their own lives, drinking habits and motivations to limit their intake. The BBC had our pick of the coverage, and there’s more info about alcohol and cancer here.
  • Reuters questioned the cost implications of treating patients with combinations of new cancer drug treatments.
  • Mobile phone giant Samsung announced plans to set up a fund to support its workers who have suffered health problems – including cancer – after working in its manufacturing facilities. CNET has the details.
  • This Guardian article raised an important point on tackling awareness of potential differences in cancer risk among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people.
  • We found this story of rapid social media fundraising from a blood cancer patient really inspiring. You can read more about John’s story on his blog.

And finally

  • Are we really being bathed in an ‘electro smog’ that’s bad for our health, as TV personality Noel Edmonds suggested recently? Sorry Noel: no deal.



Dave Ashton August 12, 2015

“And finally – Are we really being bathed in an ‘electro smog’ that’s bad for our health, as TV personality Noel Edmunds suggested recently? Sorry Noel: no deal.”

This is a somewhat strange thing for Cancer Research to be saying concerning the known health risks of “electrosmog”.

Let’s examine some of the facts.

1) Radiofrequency / microwave frequency radiation from wireless technologies has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible promoter of cancer in 2011 (see IARC Monograph 102). In addition, extremely low frequency electromagnetic radiation, from powerlines, wiring and electrical appliances, is also classified as a possible carcinogen.

2) France enacted legislation earlier this year to ban toddlers of under three from being exposed to wi-fi radiation at nursery schools or other meeting places. The exposure of older children to this radiation is restricted (see Bill 468).

3) On May 11th 2015, 190 (the number has since risen to 206) international scientists who study the health effects of exposure to this radiation, and who have collectively published over 2000 peer-reviewed papers on this subject, sent an Appeal to the UN, all UN member states, and the World Health Organisation, asking “…the Secretary General and UN affiliated bodies to encourage precautionary measures, to limit EMF exposures, and to educate the public about health risks, particularly to children and pregnant women.” (See the International EMF Scientist Appeal)

4) Internationally renowned oncologists Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg recently wrote to Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO, saying:

“In summary there is consistent evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma associated with use of mobile phones and cordless phones.

Furthermore, the risk is highest for persons with first use before the age of 20, which is of special concern.

Our conclusion is that RF-EMF should be regarded as a human carcinogen. The IARC classification should be updated to at least Group 2A, a probable human carcinogen.

Current guidelines for exposure need to be urgently revised.

The WHO Monograph draft on this issue is based on selective inclusion of studies and wrong assessment of the evidence of increased risk. Thus the Danish cohort study on mobile phone users and the Swedish Cancer Register data cannot be used as evidence of no increased risk.

It is important that the public and decision makers are given correct information about the cancer risk so that they can make decisions based on correct data and take precautions. Otherwise there is an obvious risk of forthcoming increasing impairment of human health and increasing numbers of cancer in the population.”

I wonder why Cancer Research UK is seeking to dismiss the known harmful effects of exposure to this form of electromagnetic radiation. You couldn’t possibly be in thrall to vested commercial interests, could you…?

D.Cox August 12, 2015

I think (as a RF-EMF Sufferer) that it is SHAMEFUL that you can dismiss the issue of microwave-poisoning of human beings in such a derogatory manner. Go back and have a look at all the LINKS to EVIDENCE in the Comments below the disgraceful “Wired” article, in your Link above (“no deal”) – especially that from Joel Moskowitz.

Mark Richards August 8, 2015

So where does Professor Noel Edmonds get his data?