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New online tool could help predict prostate cancer survival

The Telegraph covered a new online tool that could help estimate how likely a man is to survive his prostate cancer. It combines information about the type of prostate cancer with age and other health conditions to come up with a prediction for men with prostate cancer that hasn’t spread. The tool is designed to help men and their doctors to weigh up different treatment options, such as radiotherapy and surgery, but it’s relatively new and so should only be used as a guide, as NHS Behind the Headlines explains.

NHS cancer treatment waiting times increase

Various outlets covered the recent increase in England’s NHS waiting times from cancer diagnosis to beginning treatment. The BBC shared the story of Lisa Pammen, who had to wait 3 months for bowel cancer treatment to bring the reality of the situation home, adding an interactive ‘NHS tracker’ to check how your area is performing against key targets. The Independent took a more statistical approach, reporting that a quarter of cancer patients in January waited more than 3 months to start treatment, when the NHS target is 2 months. This means the treatment standard has now been missed for more than 1000 days.

Awareness of cancer causes differs between baby boomers and young adults

Baby boomers are ‘less aware’ that diet is linked to cancer than young adults, reports The Guardian. According to a new survey, 66 in 100 adults aged 18-24 correctly identified the link between diet and cancer, compared with 59 in 100 over 55s. The figures come from a survey by the World Cancer Research Fund, which looked at whether people linked things like drinking alcohol or eating bacon to an increased risk of cancer.

Faults in breast cancer cells’ DNA could help predict if disease will come back

BBC again, this time covering research that started back in 2012. Back then our scientists found that breast cancer can be split into 10 different diseases based on tumours’ genetic signatures. Seven years later, the researchers have shown that their rulebook stands the test of time and reach a final tally of 11 types of breast cancer. By identifying the type of breast cancer, scientists could in future predict how likely the disease is to return or spread. Read more about the latest findings in our blog post.

Stop Smoking Services declining across England

A report we released along with Action on Smoking and Health revealed that cuts to government funding has led to a decline in specialist stop smoking support across England. The new figures show that 44% of councils no longer provide a full, specialist service to all smokers looking to quit. We urged the Government to reverse public health cuts, as our news report explains.

Cancer rates in Northern Ireland increase by 15%

BBC News covered an overall rise in new cancer cases in Northern Ireland of 15% from 2008 to 2017. The increase is likely to be due to an ageing population, with over 6 in 10 cancer cases occurring in over 65s. There was good news in the form of a decrease in cervical cancer by 22%, thought to be due to screening and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.

New immunotherapy treatment for lymphoma rejected on NHS in Scotland

PharmaTimes covered the latest in Scotland concerning the new CAR T cell therapy tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah). The innovative treatment takes a patient’s own immune cells and modifies them in a lab before reintroducing them into the body. But the Scottish Medicines Agency didn’t recommend Kymriah for routine use in adults with an aggressive lymphoma because of “uncertainties around its long-term benefits”. Our news report has the low down on the decision.

Myeloma drug combo approved for NHS use in England

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence approved a combination of a new drug called daratumumab (Darzalex) and two other drugs, bortezomib (Velcade) and dexamethasone, as an NHS treatment for multiple myeloma in England. The decision comes after the treatments extended the average time patients in a clinical trial had before their cancer got worse. PharmaTimes and our news report have the details.

And finally

The Sun claimed that wireless headphones could beam ‘dangerous radiation’ directly into the head, misleadingly linking them to cancer. A petition warning against the use of a range of wireless devices has been sent to the United Nations and World Health Organisation. But there isn’t good evidence that the electromagnetic fields produced by these devices cause cancer, and studies involving large groups of people haven’t found any increase in cancer risk from being exposed to this type of radiation.