News digest – skin cancer deaths, Public Health England plans and ‘one-shot’ radiotherapy

Cancer, Covid-19

Hancock makes plans for Public Health England ‘to be replaced’

Matt Hancock plans to replace Public Health England (PHE) following claims that ministers are unhappy with the way PHE has responded to the pandemic. Reported in the Sunday Telegraph (£) and picked up by BBC News, the Health Secretary will be replacing PHE with a national agency that specialises in protecting the country from future pandemics. But despite the announcement, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the plans, which have been criticised as ‘risky and unjust’, as The Guardian explains.

150% rise in UK skin cancer deaths since 1970

The latest figures on skin cancer deaths, reported in our press release, reveal a 150% rise in skin cancer death rates since the 1970s. And the majority of cases are linked to overexposure to the sun, or using sunbeds. The results come with new warnings that approximately 4 in 10 UK adults say they have spent more time in the sun since the COVID-19 lockdown started, compared with the same time last year. Find out more at Sky News and the Evening Express.

Adverts banned as part of government’s new obesity strategy

Advertisements of foods that have more than 1.5g of salt – including sausage rolls and ketchup – may be banned from television before the 9pm watershed, reports the Daily Mail. It’s all part of the Government’s new obesity strategy, which was announced last month.

Patients with breast cancer respond well to ‘one-shot’ radiotherapy

New research picked up by the Guardian suggests that women with breast cancer who receive a single dose of radiotherapy during surgery, respond just as well as those who have up to 30 doses over 3 to 6 weeks. Here’s what our head information nurse, Martin Ledwick, had to say about the study.

Reducing the number of treatments and hospital visits is a good thing for patients. But as the women taking part in the study received radiotherapy at the same time as having a lumpectomy, doctors weren’t able to analyse their tumours in advance to see if they would need a longer course of radiotherapy until after their operation. While 20% of the women in this study did then need additional treatment, 80% of patients were spared this.

– Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head information nurse.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment gets the green light for NHS use in England

Good news this week, as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended a new combination therapy for adults with diffuse large B cell lymphoma on the NHS in England. After the initial rejection in March, a combination of polatuzumab vedotin (Polivy) and 2 existing cancer drugs will now be an option for people whose cancer has either not responded to, or come back after, initial treatment, and who are unable to have a stem cell transplant.

The team tackling the serious side effects of cancer treatment in an ageing population

By 2066, it’s predicted that around a quarter of the total UK population will be over 65 years old. And as life expectancy increases, an ageing population brings up a whole host of new challenges for healthcare, including the side effects of cancer treatments, which can often be experienced more intensely by older patients. Read more about the link between gut bacteria, fibre and radiotherapy in our latest blog post.

US lung cancer data points to the power of cancer research

New data from the US shows that deaths from non small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer, are decreasing. Deaths from non small cell lung cancer among US men dropped by 3.2% each year between 2006-2013, and by 6.3% between 2013-2016. In our blog post, we reflect on the impact of new targeted therapies.

And finally…

As we age, our chances of getting cancer increase, largely due to our exposure to cancer-causing agents, such as smoking and sun exposure. But new research, published in Nature, found that some of these harmful substances can be produced by our bodies as we age. They’ve discovered that a molecule produced during protein and fat digestion, which accumulates in the blood over time, may promote the spread of tumours.

Lilly


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