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News digest – bowel cancer increase, major NHS changes, Cancer Drugs Fund and more

by Oliver Childs | Analysis

6 April 2013

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Here’s our pick of the headlines

  • April is bowel cancer awareness month, and new figures we released this week highlight the importance of the campaign. They show that bowel cancer rates among men have increased by more than a quarter in the last 35 years. The Guardian has more info, and NHS Choices also has a good analysis of the potential reasons for the increase.
  • Monday marked the start of a new era for the NHS, with radical Government reforms coming into effect. The BBC outlined the structural changes that are taking place, and our policy team outlined what the reforms mean for cancer patients.
  • There were several alarming headlines this week about the planned termination of the Cancer Drugs Fund next year. For our balanced take on the story, and why we think the Government needs to find long term, sustainable solutions to fund all effective cancer treatments, read our news story.
  • On the same topic, this thought-provoking BBC article calls for a new approach in developing drugs, so that they’re more affordable.

  • BBC1’s The One Show on Thursday featured a fantastic piece on lung cancer by journalist Robert Peston (who lost his wife to the disease), featuring our chief executive Dr Harpal Kumar.
  • To coincide with the programme, we published this Expert Opinion article by Professor Dean Fennell, looking at why, after decades of slow progress, the future is looking brighter for lung cancer research.
  • We also spotted this interesting article about researchers who are fighting lung cancer using similar methods that Google applies to find web pages.
  • The wording of a GP’s referral letter to a consultant may influence the length of time it takes to diagnose childhood cancer. Read the press release or this ITV report for more detail.
  • A protein that takes care of our DNA is also crucial to the survival of leukaemia cells, according to scientists at our Paterson Institute at the University of Manchester. Here’s our press release.
  • The Guardian published a fascinating piece about a prostate cancer surgeon who found himself under the knife for the disease he’d been treating for decades. It includes some interesting discussion about the limitations of diagnosing and monitoring the disease with the PSA test, apparently branded by some as ‘Producer of Stress and Anxiety’.
  • This Mail Online article about the problem of late diagnosis of cancer is well worth reading, and includes comment from our experts.
  • The Mail Online also featured some stunning images of cancer cells this week.
  • Smokers who light up as soon as they wake up are putting themselves at greater risk of lung and mouth cancer, according to the Sun. Interesting research, but let’s not forget smoking is bad for you, full stop, no matter what time you spark up.
  • We thought this Guardian article was an interesting take on e-cigarettes, and draws attention to some the unresolved questions around the devices.

And finally

  • For those of you who spotted the headlines this week about aspirin ‘cutting cancer risk’ (Daily Mail, Express), then we urge you to read our blog post. In short: the evidence is compelling, but we need to know more before aspirin can be routinely recommended to anyone as a cancer-preventive drug.