• New figures revealed that while things are improving, England’s cancer survival stills lags behind other countries with similar healthcare systems. The BBC, Daily Telegraph and Mail Online covered the new stats, and we took a closer look in this blog post.
  • Our scientists discovered that the genetic chaos within oesophageal cancers may help predict how patients will respond to chemotherapy. Here’s the press release, and we blogged about the study.
  • A potential ‘urine test’ for pancreatic cancer hit the headlines this week. But it’s not an actual test yet – just a research finding. We blogged about what the research really found.
  • And in more premature ‘test’ news, reports of a blood test to predict breast cancer appeared in the Mail Online. But once again, it’s too soon to be talking of tests based on this research – something we’ve blogged about before.
  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said it didn’t have enough data to make a decision on whether or not to approve an ovarian cancer drug. So it has asked the makers, AstraZeneca, for more. Here’s the Mail Online and Daily Telegraph’s take.
  • A re-evaluation of all the available evidence shows that women who’ve used the contraceptive Pill have a reduced risk of womb cancer for more than 30 years after coming off it. We covered this, and here’s the Guardian’s report.

Number of the week:


The number of cases of womb cancer that our research estimates have been avoided over the last decade in high-income countries, through widespread use of the contraceptive Pill

  • Our scientists in Birmingham discovered that neuroblastoma cells can produce a cellular ‘kryptonite’ that seems to sap the power from nearby immune cells, preventing them from attacking the disease. Here’s the press release, and we blogged about the study.
  • “Frequent spicy meals linked to human longevity,” says the Guardian. But the study in question only showed a weak link between eating spicy food almost every day and the risk of dying from cancer. So, as NHS Choices pointed out, there’s not a lot to take away from these findings.
  • BBC Radio 4 took an in-depth look at the tricky ethical issues that arise when teenagers with cancer decide they don’t want chemotherapy.
  • A charity chief executive questioned the speed with which a new immunotherapy treatment for lung cancer might be made available to NHS patients. The Daily Telegraph and Guardian have more on this, and we made this animation about how immunotherapy treatments work.
  • Laboratory research on melanoma found that signals between the tumour and the surrounding healthy skin might play a role in how the disease spreads. The Mail Online covered this, but there’s still some way to go before this could lead to new treatments.
  • Government guidelines for alcohol consumption, which are under review, came under scrutiny this week as a new study questioned how ‘realistic’ recommendations are. People seemed to prefer the Australian approach of different guidelines for long- and short-term risks – finding it easier to relate to their own lives, drinking habits and motivations to limit their intake. The BBC had our pick of the coverage, and there’s more info about alcohol and cancer here.
  • Reuters questioned the cost implications of treating patients with combinations of new cancer drug treatments.
  • Mobile phone giant Samsung announced plans to set up a fund to support its workers who have suffered health problems – including cancer – after working in its manufacturing facilities. CNET has the details.
  • This Guardian article raised an important point on tackling awareness of potential differences in cancer risk among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people.
  • We found this story of rapid social media fundraising from a blood cancer patient really inspiring. You can read more about John’s story on his blog.

And finally

  • Are we really being bathed in an ‘electro smog’ that’s bad for our health, as TV personality Noel Edmonds suggested recently? Sorry Noel: no deal.