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News digest – Cancer Drugs Fund boost, depression, breast cancer ‘map’ and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

30 August 2014

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  • Big news this week was the announcement that the Government will invest an additional £160m in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), extending the scheme until March 2016. But we believe that while the CDF helps some patients, it’s not sustainable as currently set up – read the coverage in the BBC, the Telegraph and the Independent for more details.
  • A new study found that three in four cancer patients who have clinical depression are not receiving any treatment for their depression. The BBC, the Telegraph and the Guardian have more on this, and we published this blog post on the research.
  • We were pleased to see the Government has pledged to support some of our clinical trials on an advanced type of radiotherapy. The Sunday Times (£) and the Guardian covered this and our blog post explores what the trials are and what the Government’s support means.
  • And new Government figures revealed that the number of people surviving breast, lung, prostate, bowel and ovarian cancers for at least one year has increased. Here’s the Public Health England press release and the Independent also covered the announcement.
  • New research from our scientists found that a third of women who are given information about the chance of ‘overdiagnosis’ through the NHS breast screening programme may not fully understand the risks involved. Read our press release for more details.
  • Following a landmark study two years ago, a team of our scientists in Cambridge have taken some important next steps in understanding a new genetic ‘map’ of breast cancer, defining it as at least 10 different diseases. MedicalXpress has more on this, and we covered the research on our blog and in this post on the BioMed Central blog.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that e-cigarettes should face greater restrictions on their use, sale and promotion. The BBC and the Mail Online have more on this, but we believe there isn’t sufficient evidence of harm to justify including e-cigarettes in ‘smokefree’ legislation – read our news story for more info and our latest blog post on e-cigs outlines where the current evidence stands.
  • New research from Australia showed that standardised ‘plain’ packaging of tobacco has not led to an increase in the illegal tobacco trade or hurt small retailers. Read our news story, or coverage on the BBC and in the Guardian, for more details.
  • eCancer covered a fascinating new study looking at how tumour cells circulating in the bloodstream of patients may be more likely to spread to other parts of the body if they travel in clusters, rather than going it alone.
  • A possible role for a tomato-rich diet in preventing prostate cancer appeared in a few news stories this week – including this in-depth article from NHS Choices. While eating foods rich in lycopene – such as tomatoes – or selenium may be associated with a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer, this has not been proven, and this latest study can’t confirm whether there is a link between diet and prostate cancer risk.
  • An experimental scalpel that can detect cancerous cells as it cuts will be trialled in the UK next year. It’s still early days though, as this article from the Telegraph points out.

And finally

  • Not one for the faint-hearted, this striking video shows the impact smoking can have on the lungs.