Cancer diagnoses and incidence rates in England in 2016

The Office for National Statistics and Public Health England  have released statistics for Cancer diagnoses in England for 2016.

The main points are:

  • The number of new cases of cancer in England continues to rise and, in 2016, there were 303,135 cancers registered (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers); this is an increase of 3,212 from 2015 and is equivalent to 828 new cases being diagnosed each day during 2016.
  • More cancers were registered in males (155,019) than females (148,116) and across the majority of cancer sites, more males were diagnosed with cancer than females; this is a persistent feature of the data, as reported in previous cancer registration years.
  • The age-standardised incidence rates for newly diagnosed cancers were 663.4 per 100,000 males and 541.1 per 100,000 females; age-standardised rates for newly registered cases of cancer (incidence) were higher in males than females, which is a repeating trend of the data, as outlined in previous cancer registration statistics.
  • Breast (15.2%), prostate (13.4%), lung (12.7%) and colorectal (11.5%) cancers continue to account for over half of the cancer registrations in England for all ages combined.

The bulletin can be downloaded here 

The dataset for 2016 (and previous years)  can be found here 

Cancer targets: how has NHS performance changed over time?

With the NHS cancer target that patients should start treatment within 62 days of urgent referral having only been met for one month in the last three years, why is performance against this target worse than against others? | Nuffield Trust

This new QualityWatch blog from Jessica Morris of the Nuffield Trust looks at why NHS performance against the two month GP referral to first treatment for cancer target is worse than the other targets.

Read the full blog here

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

Researchers have developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer | Via ScienceDaily | Science


A single blood test has been developed that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer. The test, called CancerSEEK, is a unique noninvasive, multianalyte test that simultaneously evaluates levels of eight cancer proteins and the presence of cancer gene mutations from circulating DNA in the blood. The test is aimed at screening for eight common cancer types that account for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S. Five of the cancers covered by the test currently have no screening test.

The test was evaluated on 1,005 patients with nonmetastatic, stages I to III cancers of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colorectum, lung or breast. The median overall sensitivity, or the ability to find cancer, was 70 percent and ranged from a high of 98 percent for ovarian cancer to a low of 33 percent for breast cancer. For the five cancers that have no screening tests — ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic and esophageal cancers — sensitivity ranged from 69 percent to 98 percent.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Cohen, J. D. et al. | Detection and localization of surgically resectable cancers with a multi-analyte blood test | Science | 18 Jan 2018

National Lung Cancer Audit 2017

National Lung Cancer Audit annual report 2017 | The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership

This is the 13th annual report on the clinical component (process of care) of the National Lung Cancer Audit. It contains national and named team results on the quality of lung cancer care for patients diagnosed between 1 January and 31 December 2016 and covers many processes of care across the entire patient pathway.

Lung cancer audit
Image source:

Targeted audiences who will benefit from reading the findings of this report include NHS staff in lung cancer multidisciplinary teams; hospital managers and chief executives; commissioners; lung cancer researchers; lung cancer patients their families and their carers who may use the findings to inform their care decisions.

Full report: National Lung Cancer Audit annual report 2017

New way to target the growth of breast cancer cells

Researchers have found a new way of halting the growth of breast cancer cells. They hope that their discoveries can be further developed into a new way of treating breast cancer, and possibly other types of cancer. | Nature Communications | via ScienceDaily

An international team of researchers led from Karolinska Institutet and Science for Life Laboratory in Sweden have found a new way of halting the growth of breast cancer cells. In their study, which is published in Nature Communications, the researchers explore a new way to starve cancer cells from their molecular energy source.

In the study, the researchers confirmed that hormone-driven breast cancer cells use a newly discovered protein, NUDT5, to produce energy in the cell nucleus. This nuclear energy source provides energy for the expression of genes that drive cancer growth.

In the next stage of their research, they developed a molecule able to block NUDT5 activity and thus deprive the cancer cells of their means of nuclear energy production. They demonstrated that this new molecule can stop the growth of breast cancer cells in isolated laboratory experiments.

Full detail at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Page, B et al. | Targeted NUDT5 inhibitors block hormone signaling in breast cancer cells | Nature Communications |  2018; 9 (1)


Cancer dataset shows improvements in diagnosis

Latest ‘Routes to Diagnosis’ dataset published and finds improvement in the way some cancers are being diagnosed | Public Health England


Data released by Public Health England has shown a dramatic improvement in the way some cancers are being diagnosed across England.  The publication also pinpoints areas where improvements could still be made.

Key findings from the latest Routes to Diagnosis data include:

  • diagnoses from emergency presentations, where outcomes are the worst, have improved falling from 24% to 20% between 2006 to 2015
  • diagnoses through urgent GP referrals – 2 week waits – have increased significantly from 25% in 2005 to 37% in 2015, meaning that around 110,000 cases are now diagnosed this way
  • diagnoses of pancreatic cancer through emergency presentation – with the very worst outcomes – has fallen by 6%, a significant drop
  • diagnoses of colorectal cancers through the national bowel screening programme – the route with the best survival rate – remain under 10%
  • the number of cancer cases diagnosed in Accident and Emergency varies across the country , ranging from 8% of all cases in the Peninsular Cancer Alliance to 20% of all cases in the London Cancer Alliance – this is despite similar cancer incidence levels

Routes to Diagnosis now includes 10 years’ worth of data, covering more than 3 million cancer cases, making it the most comprehensive dataset of its kind in the world.

Full detail at