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Welcome to the Cancer Services online newsfeed. Here you’ll find all the latest research, news stories, policy updates and guidelines. View our other newsfeeds for more subject-specific news.

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NICE: Women with family history of breast cancer should take pill

Hundreds of thousands of healthy women should take pills to cut their risk of breast cancer, says NHS watchdog NICE | BBC News

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The draft guidelines for England say women predisposed to breast cancer because of a strong family history of the disease need this protection.

There are now three drugs to choose from – tamoxifen, raloxifene and, for the first time, anastrozole. Anastrozole is cheaper than the other two and, for some women, has fewer side-effects and is more effective.

Read the full news story here

Read the NICE draft guidelines here

Cancer-related fatigue in post-treatment survivors

Corbett, T. et al. BMC Cancer. Published online: 25 November 2016

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Background: Cancer-related fatigue (CrF) is a common and disruptive symptom that may be experienced during and after cancer. Research into the subjective experience of fatigue in this group is required. The common sense model of self-regulation of health and illness (SRM) addresses personal beliefs or mental representations—whether medically sound or unsubstantiated— that a person holds about a health issue. The current study assesses if the SRM could be used as a theoretical framework for organizing the experiences of people with CrF, with a view to identifying methods to address fatigue in cancer survivors.

 

Conclusion: This study explored the subjective experience of fatigue after cancer using the SRM. CrF should be approached as a complex psychosocial issue and considered from the patient perspective to facilitate better understanding and management of symptoms. The SRM is an applicable framework for identifying modifiable factors that could lead to improved coping with CrF in post-treatment cancer survivors.

Read the full abstract and article here

Mouth cancer rates soar over 20 years

A new Cancer Research UK analysis reveals that rates of mouth (oral) cancer have jumped by 68% in the UK over the last 20 years.

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Image source: Anne Weston – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

The figures – released during Mouth Cancer Action Month – reveal the cancer is on the rise for men and women, young and old, climbing from eight to 13 cases per 100,000 people over the last two decades.

For men under 50, the rate has jumped by 67 per cent in the last 20 years – going up from around 340 cases to around 640 cases each year. For men aged 50 and over, rates have increased by 59 per cent climbing from around 2,100 cases to around 4,400 cases annually. Oral cancer is more common in men, but there have been similar increases women.

Read the full press release here

Computer modeling could lead to new method for detecting, managing prostate cancer

Guillermo Lorenzo et. al. Tissue-scale, personalized modeling and simulation of prostate cancer growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201615791 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1615791113

New research coauthored by Brigham Young University researchers may lead to a more accurate system for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer.

The new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, details a computer model that uses medical images to reproduce the growth patterns of prostate cancer on the anatomy of a patient’s prostate.

This type of mathematical modelling and simulation of disease (aka predictive medicine) can lead to personalised treatment and more accurate forecasting of clinical outcomes.

Current diagnosis methods include invasive biopsy procedures which too often lead to patients being over-treated or under-treated. Complicating matters is the fact that prostate cancer can remain undiagnosed because early stages of the disease may not produce symptoms until a tumour is either very large or has invaded other tissues.

The new system could lead to both earlier diagnosis and less invasive testing.

Full document available here

Pathology services capacity

Cancer Research UK has published Testing times to come? An evaluation of pathology capacity across the UK.

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This report highlights lack of capacity for pathology services as a result of the increasing number of patient samples that need to be tested.  The report recommends that action is taken now to address current and future workforce shortfalls.  It also recommends the Royal College of Pathologists should update their guidance and look at ways to attract staff to train in pathology.

Download the executive summary for England

Additional links:  Cancer Research UK press release  | BBC News report

Does mindfulness offer any benefit to cancer patients?

A new Australian study of men with advanced prostate cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggests mindfulness training offers no benefit in this particular setting | The Conversation

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Image source: Carol Del Angel – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

In cancer, mindfulness-based therapies are often suggested as a supportive care option for patients. Mindfulness as the core component of these two approaches centres around teaching open awareness of the present experience and a focus on behaviour.

The behaviour element encourages the individual to conduct self observation of habits, and to become less reactive to difficult or unpleasant experiences. This is proposed to create a sense of calmness and composure – often referred to as equanimity – about the illness experience.

While mindfulness approaches intuitively seem well matched to the cancer context, to date the research in this area has been limited by variable study quality and a focus on breast cancer patients.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research article here