A pile of newspapers

Lots about cancer in the news this week

It’s the weekend! If you want to catch up on all the latest cancer news, then we’re here to help. In this article, we’ve pulled together the stories that caught our eye this week:

  • In a world first, the Australian Senate passed legislation that would make it illegal for tobacco companies to display their brand colours, designs and logos. It’s hoped that the law will deter young people from the deadly addiction. Cancer Research UK is campaigning to urge the British government to follow Australia’s example in protecting children from tobacco and bring in similar legislation. There’s an interesting article in the journal Nature about this cigarette clampdown, and our colleagues at the BHF also wrote an engaging blog post on why this is such an exciting time for tobacco control.

  • Our Chief Executive Harpal Kumar announced that Cancer Research UK is joining forces with international research groups from the UK, Europe and the US to launch an initiative to boost the development of new treatments for patients with rare cancers. We wrote more about this pioneering partnership and what it will mean for people with rare cancers on our blog.
  • We published new figures showing that more than 5,000 children have survived their cancer since the 1970s thanks to research and better cancer treatment. Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer and makes up a significant proportion of children who have been saved, as this graphic shows:

  • A new study showed that more lung cancer patients would survive for longer if surgery rates increased. Over 5,400 lives could have been prolonged if every area in England was operating on the same proportion of patients as the area with the highest surgical rates.
  • Scientists in Canada discovered that the antibiotic, tigecycline, which is normally used to treat skin and abdominal infections, can also kill leukaemia cells in the lab. The researchers are now beginning clinical trials with tigecycline to see if it will work in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia.
  • US scientists used a mathematical model to show that ovarian cancer may not be detectable in the blood using current technology until 10 years after the disease first starts to develop. The work could make future efforts to develop diagnostic blood tests for cancer more efficient.
  • Researchers in the US uncovered genetic faults behind a rare but particularly aggressive type of prostate cancer called neuroendocrine prostate cancer. Excitingly, they also showed that a drug that’s already in clinical trials could be used to treat men with the disease.
  • And finally… there were some head-turning headlines about the contraceptive Pill increasing the risk of prostate cancer. This sounds silly since women don’t have prostates – so we explained what the science really said on our blog.