Changes to diet and exercise could avoid 26,000 cases of cancer a year in women

Around 500 cases of cancer in women every week in the UK could be prevented by keeping a healthy weight and increasing exercise | British Journal of Cancer | story via Cancer Research UK

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The latest figures, calculated from 2015 cancer data, found that whilst smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of cancer, everyday changes to live a little more healthily can have a large impact.

By keeping a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol, eating more fibre, cutting down on processed meat and being more active, more than 26,000 cancer cases in women could be avoided each year.

This equates to 15% of all cancers diagnosed in women each year in the UK. More than 24,000 cases of cancer in men could also be avoided with the same approach.

Full story at Cancer Research UK

Full reference: Brown, K. et al. | The fraction of cancer attributable to known risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the UK overall in 2015 | British Journal of Cancer 2018 | Vol. 118 p1130–1141

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Cancer taskforce recommendations: progress report

Public Health England | April 2018 |Cancer taskforce recommendations: progress report

Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015 to 2020 was published in 2015, in a new policy pape rPublic Health England reports progress on the strategic priorities identified in the Independent Cancer Taskforce.

It is available from Public Health England here 

Cancer survival trends

Little evidence for any direct impact of national cancer policies on short-term survival in England and no evidence for a reduction in socioeconomic inequalities in cancer survival. Findings emphasise that socioeconomic inequalities in survival remain a major public health problem. |  London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine | British Medical Journal

New research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that despite overall improvements in cancer survival, the gap in survival between the most affluent and most deprived groups of patients remains unchanged for most cancers.

Survival trends were examined for 21 cancers in men and 20 cancers in women.

For each cancer, the chances of survival at one year after diagnosis were estimated separately for men and women in five levels of socio-economic deprivation, from the most affluent to the most deprived, and in each of the three calendar periods.

Researchers focused on one-year survival because most of the inequalities in cancer survival in England arise shortly after diagnosis. The survival estimates were corrected for the risk of dying from other causes of death. Estimates were also adjusted for differences in the age profile of cancer patients between men and women, and over time.

The “deprivation gap” in survival between the most affluent and most deprived groups of patients remained unchanged for most cancers. There was a clear and persistent pattern of lower survival among more deprived patients. It narrowed slightly for some cancers, where one-year survival was already more than 65% in 1996, such as cervical cancer and skin melanoma in men. By contrast, the deprivation gap in survival widened between the late 1990s and 2013 for brain tumours in men and lung cancer in women.

Full story at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Link to the research: Aimilia Exarchakou et al.  (2018). Impact of national cancer policies on cancer survival trends and socioeconomic inequalities in England, 1996-2013: population based study. BMJ.

Over 70s entitled to breast screening

Public Health England | March 2018  | NHS Breast Screening Programme: Over 70? You are still entitled to breast screening |

Public Health England has published Breast screening: Over 70? You are still entitled to breast screening a leaflet which explains older patients entitlement.  Females aged over 70  have an increased risk of getting breast cancer than younger women, as this risk increases with age.

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Image source: gov.uk

Although younger women (aged 50-70)  and registered with a GP are automatically invited for screening every three years this is not the case for older patients.  While older women do not receive routine invitations they are eligible to be screened if they ask.

Further details are at gov.uk

Cervical screening coverage rates in England fall

This report presents information about the NHS Cervical Screening Programme in England in 2016-17. It includes data on the call and recall system, on screening samples examined by pathology laboratories and on referrals to colposcopy clinics | NHS Digital

Key Facts:

• At 31 March 2017, the percentage of eligible women (aged 25 to 64) who were recorded as screened adequately within the specified period was 72.0 per cent. This compares with 72.7 per cent at 31 March 2016 and 75.4 per cent at 31 March 2012.

• A total of 4.45 million women aged 25 to 64 were invited for screening in 2016-17, representing an increase of 5.6 per cent from 2015-16 when 4.21 million women were invited.

• In total, 3.18 million women aged 25 to 64 years were tested in 2016-17, an increase of 2.9 per cent from 2015-16 when 3.09 million women were tested.

• Of samples submitted by GPs and NHS Community Clinics, 94.8 per cent of test results were returned Negative.

• 8.8 per cent of patients did not attend colposcopy appointments and gave no prior warning.

Full detail at NHS Digital: Cervical Screening Programme, England – 2016-17

How alcohol industry organisations mislead the public about alcohol and cancer

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of several types of cancer, including several common cancers | Drug and Alcohol Review

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As part of their corporate social responsibility activities, the alcohol industry (AI) disseminates information about alcohol and cancer. We examined the information on this which the AI disseminates to the public through its ‘social aspects and public relations organizations’ and related bodies. The aim of the study was to determine its comprehensiveness and accuracy.

Most of the organisations were found to disseminate misrepresentations of the evidence about the association between alcohol and cancer. Three main industry strategies were identified:

  1.  denial/omission: denying, omitting or disputing the evidence that alcohol consumption increases cancer risk.
  2. distortion: mentioning cancer, but misrepresenting the risk.
  3. distraction: focussing discussion away from the independent effects of alcohol on common cancers. Breast cancer and colorectal cancer appeared to be a particular focus for this misrepresentation.

Full reference: Petticrew, M. et al. (2017) How alcohol industry organisations mislead the public about alcohol and cancer. Drug and Alcohol Review. Published online: 7 Septmeber 2017

Cancer in the West Midlands

This report provides an overview of the burden of cancer and the extent of the identified risk factors, across the West Midlands. | Public Health England

The aim of this report is to equip care providers and policy makers with an insight into the burden of cancer, as well as providing an overview of the extent of the identified risk factors, across the West Midlands population.

It is intended to be used by commissioners of health services to enable more timely diagnosis and improve treatment pathways, and also by local authority commissioners in terms of the wider prevention agenda.

Full document:  Cancer in the West Midlands.