Non-surgical cancer treatments workforce

Full team ahead: understanding the UK non-surgical cancer treatments workforce. Cancer Research UK 

This report from Cancer Research UK investigates the current and future needs, capacity, and skills of the non-surgical oncology workforce to provide optimal treatment to the UK population.  This is the first time UK-wide data has been collected on the non-surgical oncology workforce as a whole and it identifies gaps in the data. Interviews with workforce groups were carried out to confirm the accuracy of data collection done by health services and professional bodies.

The report ‘Full team ahead’ outlines the findings and recommendations from this research.

Full team ahead

Additional link: Royal College of Radiologists press release

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NICE approves breakthrough breast cancer drugs

NICE confirms that it will recommend that breakthrough cancer drugs palbociclib and ribociclib be provided on the NHS for women with advanced breast cancer| story via OnMedica

There are around 45,000 new diagnosis of breast cancer each year in England and it is estimated that around 8,000 of these people would be eligible for treatment with either palbociclib or ribociclib.

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In draft guidance, NICE said breast cancer patients should have routine access to these two life extending drugs after a new deal with their manufacturing companies who agreed to lower the price and who gave more evidence for their effectiveness.

Palbociclib (Ibrance) from Pfizer and ribociclib (Kisqali) from Norvatis, are recommended for people with hormone receptor (HR) positive, HER2 negative locally advanced or secondary breast cancer.

NICE said that although there were some uncertainties on how long they extend the life expectancy of people with this type of breast cancer, these promising new drugs were found to stall the growth of cancer for an extra 10 months on average.

Breast cancer can return 20 years after treatment

Risk of certain breast cancers coming back remains for at least 20 years after treatment | New England Journal of Medicine | Story via Cancer Research UK

Research, carried out by The Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group collected data from more than 60,000 women who had been diagnosed with hormone sensitive breast cancer (usually called oestrogen receptor positive or ER+ breast cancer) between 1976 and 2011.

All of the patients were given a type of anti-oestrogen therapy for five years as part of their treatment. At the five year mark the women had no signs that their breast cancer had come back and treatment ended.

The figures, published in the New England Journal of Medicine show that out of the women included in the study, 11,000 had their cancer come back in another part of the body such as the bone, liver and lung in the 15 years after stopping treatment. They also showed that the risk of cancer coming back remained the same year on year from when they stopped taking the anti-oestrogen drugs to 15 years later.

Full story at Cancer Research UK

Full reference: Pan, H. et al. (2017) 20-Year Risks of Breast-Cancer Recurrence after Stopping Endocrine Therapy at 5 YearsNew England Journal of Medicine.

 

Will cancer ever be cured?

Cancer Reseach UK:  Science Surgery series  

Answering this question isn’t a simple case of ‘yes’ or ‘no’, because it depends on the way that the term ‘cancer’ is defined. The word ‘cancer’ is singular, but it reflects more than just one disease. It should actually be viewed as an umbrella term for a collection of hundreds of different diseases. They all share the fundamental characteristic of rogue cells growing out of control, but each type of cancer, and each person’s individual cancer, is unique and comes with its own set of challenges.

That’s why it’s very unlikely that there will be one single cure that can wipe out all cancers. But, as explained in the short animation below, that doesn’t mean individual cases of cancer can’t be cured:

Read more at Cancer Research UK

New device accurately identifies cancer in seconds

Handheld device can identify cancerous tissue in 10 seconds, with 96% accuracy. | story via ScienceDaily

A team of scientists at The University of Texas has invented a handheld device that quickly and accurately identifies cancerous tissue during surgery, delivering results in about 10 seconds. The MasSpec Pen is a handheld instrument that gives surgeons precise diagnostic information about what tissue to cut or preserve, helping improve treatment and reduce the chances of cancer recurrence.

In tests on tissues removed from 253 human cancer patients, the MasSpec Pen took about 10 seconds to provide a diagnosis and was more than 96 percent accurate. The technology was also able to detect cancer in marginal regions between normal and cancer tissues that presented mixed cellular composition. The team expects to start testing this new technology during oncologic surgeries in 2018.

Full story at ScienceDaily

See also: BBC News: ‘Pen’ identifies cancer in 10 seconds

Full reference: Zhang, J. et al. Nondestructive tissue analysis for ex vivo and in vivo cancer diagnosis using a handheld mass spectrometry system  Science Translational Medicine 06 Sep 2017: Vol. 9, Issue 406

 

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.

 

The prevalence of comorbid cancer and dementia

Findings suggest that dementia is associated with poorer cancer outcomes

Objectives: A comorbid diagnosis of cancer and dementia (cancer–dementia) may have unique implications for patient cancer-related experience. The objectives were to estimate prevalence of cancer–dementia and related experiences of people with dementia, their carers and cancer clinicians including cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care.

Method: Databases were searched  using key terms such as dementia, cancer and experience. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (a) English language, (b) published any time until early 2016, (c) diagnosis of cancer–dementia and (d) original articles that assessed prevalence and/or cancer-related experiences including screening, cancer treatment and survival. Due to variations in study design and outcomes, study data were synthesised narratively.

Results: Forty-seven studies were included in the review with a mix of quantitative (n = 44) and qualitative (n = 3) methodologies. Thirty-four studies reported varied cancer–dementia prevalence rates (range 0.2%–45.6%); the others reported reduced likelihood of receiving: cancer screening, cancer staging information, cancer treatment with curative intent and pain management, compared to those with cancer only. The findings indicate poorer cancer-related clinical outcomes including late diagnosis and higher mortality rates in those with cancer–dementia despite greater health service use.

Conclusions: There is a dearth of good-quality evidence investigating the cancer–dementia prevalence and its implications for successful cancer treatment. Findings suggest that dementia is associated with poorer cancer outcomes although the reasons for this are not yet clear. Further research is needed to better understand the impact of cancer–dementia and enable patients, carers and clinicians to make informed cancer-related decisions.

Full reference: L. McWilliams, C et al. | A systematic review of the prevalence of comorbid cancer and dementia and its implications for cancer-related care | Aging & Mental Health |  Published online: 18 Jul 2017