Here are the week’s top headlines:
Young people and women are target groups for tobacco packaging, according to a report we released this week, alongside a hard-hitting short film that illustrates children’s attraction to the slickly designed cigarette packs.
The film and report together illustrate why we’re calling on people to join our campaign to support the plain packaging of tobacco products, and importantly, to spread the word by sharing the video with their friends and family.
- “Series of measures ‘could cut bowel cancer deaths by nearly two-thirds’” (Cancer Research UK news feed)
April is bowel cancer awareness month and, as we covered on our news feed, a timely publication from Bowel Cancer UK highlighted that death rates from the disease could be slashed by almost two-thirds by 2025, as long as the Government makes the right improvements to patient care.
- “Aspirin after bowel cancer diagnosis reduces chance of dying” (British Journal of Cancer press release)
Another interesting bowel cancer story came out on Wednesday, suggesting that bowel cancer patients who took a daily dose of aspirin for at least nine months after their diagnosis had a 30 per cent lower chance of dying.
But we’re not yet at the point where we would recommend people start taking aspirin to reduce their chances of developing cancer – the drug can have significant and serious side effects, and it’s not yet completely clear for whom the benefits outweigh the risks of taking aspirin in the long term.
- “Protein ‘block’ kills childhood kidney cancer cells” (press release)
As we press released on Monday, our researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research showed that blocking a protein called IGF1R could kill cancer cells from Wilms’ tumour – a type of childhood kidney cancer.
Although the study was carried out in mice, the sophisticated nature of the experiments gives the researchers hope that their finding will apply to children with the disease, a theory they now plan to test.
- “Molecule linked to lung cancer growth and spread” (Cancer Research UK news feed)
US researchers have discovered a molecule called matrix metalloproteinase-10 seems to drive the growth and spread of lung cancer stem cells. Commenting on the finding, our researcher Dr Gillian Murphy called it “unusual and interesting”. “It will be exciting to learn exactly what MMP-10 is doing, as this work only shows the enzyme could be involved in regulating cancer cells, not how it’s involved,” she told us.
- Diet supplements ‘may cause harm’ (Press Association)
An opinion piece in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at the popular myth that taking dietary supplements can help protect against cancer. Not only is there no evidence of benefit, the authors said, but some supplements can actually increase cancer risk (a fact we’ve been pointing out for some years now)
- “Do mobile phones cause cancer?” (Guardian Fact Check)
Almost certainly not, according to the Guardian’s Polly Curtis, writing about a new evidence summary from the Health Protection Agency. However, it’s difficult to prove a negative in science, so we need to keep an eye on things – mobiles have only been around for a short time, whereas brain tumours can take a long time to develop.
Nonetheless, the article and comments summarise the status quo superbly (and you can read our analysis from last year here)
The Daily Mail poses the following question and answer: “Of a nervous disposition? Here’s another thing to worry about: You’re more likely to get cancer, according to new research”.
This misleading headline comes from research on mice, who supposedly had ‘nervous dispositions’ since they ‘avoided the dark or open spaces’, and were subsequently exposed to UV radiation. Headlines like this, based on preliminary research in animal models, are only likely to upset people and are unhelpful to say the least.
See you next week,
Nicola Bourne April 28, 2012
With regards to Bowel Cancer – people also need to stop thinking of it as an over 60’s illness. I went to see GP’s numerous times complaining of common bowel cancer symptoms and a strong family history of the disease and was repeatedly told by different doctors, I was to young to have bowel cancer and made to feel I was wasting their time. At 31 I was finally diagnosed (after having to seriously force my GP to send me for a colonoscopy, as she also kept saying that I was to young) with colorectal cancer which by that point was severely spread and my surgeon believe’s I have had it for 3 or 4 years! If only every clear & obvious symptom I had, hadn’t been ignored by GP’s just because I was in my late 20’s, my diagnosis could have been very different. It also makes me worry for people who may not be as persistent as I was with my GP in the end, who are being told they can’t have cancer because of their age whilst the cancer is spreading. Its heartbreaking.