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

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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

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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

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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 cancerdata.nhs.uk

NHS takes 40 days to diagnose patients with cancer, study finds

The average time for a patient in England to be diagnosed with cancer is 40 days, a new study suggests | British Journal of General Practice | story via The Independent

Research published in the British Journal of General Practice has found that in 2014 the median number of days from first relevant presentation to the date of diagnosis was 40 days. This ranged from 15 days to 86 days.

The findings identify avenues for quality improvement activity and provide a baseline for future audit of the impact of 2015 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on management and referral of suspected cancer.

Health officials have set a target for all cancer patients to be diagnosed within 28 days by 2020.

Full reference: Swann, R. et al. | Diagnosing cancer in primary care: results from the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit | British Journal of General Practice | 18 December 2017

Prevention of bowel cancer

Bowel Cancer UK has published Finding the Key to the Cures: a plan to end bowel cancer by 2050.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer with 16,000 people dying from the disease, and the fourth most common cancer with over 41,200 people diagnosed each year. The key to reducing the numbers of people dying from this condition is early diagnosis. This report examines ways and methods of increasing earlier detection methods which could transform survival rates and ultimately benefit thousands of people in the future.  

More cancer specialists to be employed by the NHS

New specialists will speed up cancer diagnoses and improve access to treatment

The UK is facing increased demand for cancer treatments based on the growing number of cases of cancer diagnosed each year and the fact that people are living for longer with cancer. Around 357,000 people in the UK were diagnosed with cancer in 2014. In the year 2022, it has been projected that there will be around 422,000 new cases.

The NHS is to employ more cancer specialists, to speed up cancer diagnoses and get more people into treatment more quickly. The specialists will be trained in areas where there are shortages. It is part of Health Education England’s new Cancer Workforce Plan.

Announcements of extra provision include:

  • 200 clinical endoscopists – to investigate suspected cancers internally
  • 300 reporting radiographers – to identify cancers using x-rays and ultrasound
  • support for clinical nurse specialists – to lead services and provide quality care

The plan is part of a campaign to make sure patients are diagnosed quickly and get better access to innovative treatments that can improve survival rates.

Further detail at HEE: Health Education England unveils plan to transform the future NHS cancer workforce

Radiation risk with digital mammography in breast screening

This review estimates the risks and benefits of breast screening in terms of deaths due to radiation-induced cancers and lives saved by digital mammography in the NHS Breast Screening Programme in England.

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A radiation risk model, patient dose data and data from national screening statistics were used to estimate the number of deaths due to radiation induced breast cancers in the NHSBSP in England. The breast cancer mortality reduction in the invited population due to screening, and the percentage of women diagnosed with symptomatic breast cancer who die from that cancer, were collated from the literature. The number of lives saved due to screening was calculated.

The main findings are that:

  • the risk of a radiation-induced cancer for a woman attending full field digital mammographic screening (2 views) by the NHSBSP is between 1 in 49,000 to 1 in 98,000 per visit
  • if a woman attends all 7 screening examinations between the ages of 50 to 70, the risk of a radiation-induced cancer is between 1 in 7,000 to 1 in 14,000
  • it is estimated that about 400 to 800 cancers are detected by the NHSBSP for every cancer induced
  • the mortality benefit of screening exceeds the radiation-induced detriment by about 150:1 to 300:1
  • for the small proportion of women with breasts thicker than 90mm who receive higher radiation doses, the benefit will exceed the risk by about 100:1 to 200:1

Full report at Public Health England

New two-year progress report on delivering the cancer strategy 2015-2020

NHS England’s National Cancer Programme Progress Report (2016-17) shows that the NHS is on track to transform cancer services by 2020/21 | NHS England

NHS England’s two-year progress report shows significant progress has been made towards delivering world-class cancer services in England. Improvements include a £130m investment (over 2016/18) in new and upgraded radiotherapy equipment and £200m over two years to accelerate rapid diagnosis and enhance patients’ quality of life.

The report describes progress across the field including:

  • Modernisation of radiotherapy equipment throughout the country.
  • New models of care introduced to ensure cancer is diagnosed earlier and improve survival.
  • Establishment of Cancer Alliances across the country to bring together clinical leaders, healthcare workers, patients and charities for better coordination of care.

Full document: Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015-2020