One in 2 people in the UK will get cancer

Public Release: 3-Feb-2015

Cancer Research UK

One in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to the most accurate forecast to date from Cancer Research UK, and published in the British Journal of Cancer today (Wednesday).

The new figure highlights the urgent need to bolster public health and NHS cancer services so they can cope with a growing and ageing population and the looming demands for better diagnostics, treatments, and earlier diagnosis. Prevention must also play an important role in the concerted effort required to reduce the impact of the disease in coming decades.

Thanks to research, the UK’s cancer survival has doubled over the last 40 years and around half of patients now survive the disease for more than 10 years. But, as more people benefit from improved healthcare and longer life expectancy, the number of cancer cases is expected to rise. This new research estimating lifetime risk finds that, from now on*, 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with the disease.

This new estimate replaces the previous figure, calculated using a different method, which predicted that more than 1 in 3 people would develop cancer at some point in their lives.

Age is the biggest risk factor for most cancers, and the increase in lifetime risk is primarily because more people are surviving into old age, when cancer is more common.

Study author Professor Peter Sasieni, based at Queen Mary University of London, said: “Cancer is primarily a disease of old age, with more than 60 per cent of all cases diagnosed in people aged over 65. If people live long enough then most will get cancer at some point. But there’s a lot we can do to make it less likely – like giving up smoking, being more active, drinking less alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight. Continue reading “One in 2 people in the UK will get cancer”

Study reveals 2/3 of prostate cancer patients do not need treatment

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Samantha Martin
samantha.martin@liv.ac.uk
44-151-794-2248
University of Liverpool

In the largest study of its kind, the international team of pathologists studied an initial 4,000 prostate cancer patients over a period of 15 years to further understanding into the natural progression of the disease and how it should be managed. The research, published in the British Journal of Cancer, could be used to develop a blood test to distinguish between aggressive and non-aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

Globally, prostate cancer is the fifth most common malignancy and accounts for 13% of male deaths in the UK. Studies have shown that men with non-aggressive prostate cancer can live with the disease untreated for many years, but aggressive cancer requires immediate treatment.

Pathologists found that the presence of a protein, called Hsp-27, in cancer cells was an indicator that the disease will progress and require treatment. The study showed, however, that in more than 60% of cases the protein was not expressed and the cancer could be managed by careful monitoring, rather than with active invention methods, such as drug treatment or surgery.

The protein normally has a positive function in the body, helping healthy cells survive when they are placed under ‘stressful’ conditions, such as disease or injury. If the protein is expressed in cancer, however, it can prevent the diseased cells from dying, allowing the cancer to progress. The team, supported by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and in collaboration with scientists in London and New York, found that the protein can be used to predict how the disease will behave and could help doctors advise patients on how the disease could affect their daily lives.

Professor Chris Foster, Head of the University’s Division of Pathology, explains: “Cancer of any kind is a very distressing disease and has the ability to impact on every aspect of a person’s life. Chemotherapy and surgery can also have a significant effect on health and wellbeing and that is why it is important that we first understand the biological nature of the disease and how it will behave in each individual patient, before determining if and when a person needs a particular type of treatment.

“By studying the disease in a large number of men throughout the UK and over a long period of time, we have been able to get a more complete picture of how to manage the disease successfully, whilst limiting the negative impact it can have on a patient’s life. The study also demonstrates the role of modern of Pathology, not only in establishing diagnoses but in determining if the subsequent management of individual patients is biologically appropriate for their particular condition.

“The protein – or biomarker – we have identified provides us with a signal that the disease will continue to progress. We know that at the point this marker is expressed, medics need to administer treatment to kill the cancer cells. We have shown that in the majority of cases, however, this marker is not expressed and therefore patients do not necessarily need to go through treatment to lead a normal life.”

 

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Notes to editors:

1. Patients looking for more information about the new test should discuss the procedure with a Consultant Urologist. Currently, the test can be performed after the patient has undergone a biopsy. Scientists are now working to allow the test to be conducted by blood test.

2. Pathology research at Liverpool is internationally renowned. The division provides services in diagnostic pathology to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust as well as offering services in specialised fields of pathology to several other hospitals in the North of England.

3. Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading independent organisation dedicated to cancer research. The organisation supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of more than 4,500 scientists, doctors and nurses.

4. The BJC is owned by Cancer Research UK. Its mission is to encourage communication of the very best cancer research from laboratories and clinics in all countries. Broad coverage, its editorial independence and consistent high standards have made BJC one of the world’s premier general cancer journals. www.bjcancer.com.

5. The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.

Unlocking the body’s defenses against cancer : ‘kinase inhibitors’ cancerous cells in a flask the diseased cells stopped multiplying and began acting like normal cells again

Contact: Aeron Haworth aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk 44-161-275-8383 University of Manchester

Scientists have discovered a way of allowing healthy cells to take charge of cancerous cells and stop them developing into tumours in what could provide a new approach to treating early-stage cancers.

University of Manchester researchers found that a special type of the chemicals known as ‘kinase inhibitors’ opened up communication channels on the surface of cells that enabled healthy cells to ‘talk’ to the cancer cells.

“When we added the chemicals to a mixture of healthy and cancerous cells in a flask the diseased cells stopped multiplying and began acting like normal cells again,” said Dr Ian Hampson, who carried out the research with wife Dr Lynne Hampson.

“Further tests revealed that the chemicals helped the cancer cells form connections with surrounding healthy cells that allowed these normal cells to take charge of the mechanism by which cancer cells divide and grow out of control.”

Cell division occurs naturally and continuously in human organs and tissue as part of the body’s normal repair processes to combat wear and tear but in cancer the cells divide in an uncontrolled way.

Dr Hampson says the findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, are all the more exciting because the chemicals, which were developed with colleagues at the University of Salford, appear to be relatively non-toxic and the positive effect on the cancer cells persists even when the chemicals are withdrawn.

“When the chemicals were added to a culture containing just cancer cells they had little effect,” said Dr Hampson, who is based in Manchester’s School of Cancer and Imaging Sciences. “It was only when we added the chemicals to a mixture of cancer cells and normal cells – similar to how you would find them in the body – that growth was suppressed.

“Intriguingly, the connections that allowed the healthy cells to communicate with the cancer cells stayed open even when the kinase inhibitors were removed indicating that a potential drug based on these chemicals could be given as a short course of treatment.

“Furthermore, the chemicals are non-poisonous and do not actually kill cells like conventional cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, so if we were able to develop a drug it is likely to have far fewer side-effects.”

The team say the next stage of their research will be to find out exactly how the chemicals are able to increase the number of connections between cancer and normal cells. Once this is known, it should be possible to produce a drug based on these chemicals that could hopefully be used in humans.

Dr Lynne Hampson added: “We are currently applying for funding to carry out further research into the biochemistry of how these chemicals cause the effect we have observed. We also intend to investigate the use of different types of cell cultures to assess the potency and range of activity of these agents.”

The research was funded by the Association for International Cancer Research, The Humane Research Trust, The Caring Cancer Research Trust, Kidscan and the Cancer Prevention Research Trust.

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Notes for editors:

The chemicals that have been developed are a type of kinase inhibitor. Kinases are a specific form of enzyme that uses a phosphate molecule to speed up biological processes in the body. Chemicals that block the actions of kinases are known as kinase inhibitors.

A copy of the paper, which is published online ahead of print today, is available on request.

Possible link found between X-rays and prostate cancer

Re-Post 2008

Contact: Professor Kenneth Muir
kenneth.muir@nottingham.ac.uk
44-011-582-30469
University of Nottingham

Researchers at The University of Nottingham have shown an association between certain past diagnostic radiation procedures and an increased risk of young-onset prostate cancer — a rare form of prostate cancer which affects about 10 per cent of all men diagnosed with the disease.

The study, the first of its kind to report the relationship between low dose ionising radiation from diagnostic procedures and the risk of prostate cancer, was funded by the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) and is part of the UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study (UKGPCS). The results of the study have been published online in the British Journal of Cancer.

The study showed that men who had a hip or pelvic X-ray or barium enema 10 years previously were two and a half times more likely to develop prostate cancer than the general population. And the link appeared to be stronger in men who had a family history of the disease.

The research was led by Professor Kenneth Muir, from the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health at The University of Nottingham, in association with Dr Rosalind Eeles at The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Muir said: “Although these results show some increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer in men who had previously had certain radiological medical tests we want to reassure men that the absolute risks are small and there is no proof that the radiological tests actually caused any of the cancers.”

Four hundred and thirty one men, diagnosed with young onset prostate cancer — men diagnosed with the disease before the age of 60 — took part in the study.

The exposure to radiation was part of normal medical procedures which were performed 5, 10 or 20 years before diagnosis. Procedures included hip and leg X-rays, for example taken after an accident, and barium meals and enemas which are used to diagnose problems with the digestive system.

At this stage the evidence linking diagnostic radiation procedures and prostate cancer is still weak. This research suggests that further investigation into this link should be undertaken.

X-ray procedures used for diagnostic purposes deliver very small amounts of radiation per procedure. Their use is minimised in current medical practice. For most people X-rays do not increase the risk of developing cancer.

 

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Notes to Editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain’s “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.

Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).

Its students are much in demand from ‘blue-chip’ employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.

More information is available from Professor Kenneth Muir on +44 (0)115 8230469, kenneth.muir@nottingham.ac.uk or Media Relations Manager Lindsay Brooke in the University’s Communications Office on +44 (0)115 9515751, lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk