Blood Test Hailed As Game-Changer In Cancer Battle

Researchers have hailed as a possible ‘holy grail’ a new blood test that could be used to check for many different kinds of cancer all at once.

The Galleri Test, developed by US-based firm Grail, woks by identifying traces of DNA in the blood that can be linked to cancer. This may be used to spot up to 50 different varieties of the disease and by providing an early diagnosis may save 16,000 lives a year – nearly one in ten of the annual total of deaths. 

Professor Peter Sasieni of King’s College London, who is one of the key NHS investigators working on the project, said: “The potential of this blood test to dramatically cut the number of people who die from cancer is enormous.”

He added that while in the short term there could be an increase in the number of cancer referrals as more cases are detected, the fact this will happen so early before symptoms emerge will make treating patients much easier.

“In the long run, there should also be many savings for the NHS, such as a reduction in the need for chemotherapy and expensive drugs for advanced cancers,” Prof Sasieni concluded.

People aged between 50 and 77 enrolled in the tests who displayed traces of DNA suspected to be cancerous were sent for further screening. It is not yet known how many of these were confirmed as cancer cases and the full results of the trails will not be available until 2024.

In the meantime, cancer survival can often depend on people getting tested when they first discover symptoms, which may hinge on the level of awareness they have of particular conditions.

For example, in the case of bowel cancer the number of people having checks between May and July was a record 170,000, up 30,000 on last year. This has been attributed to the publicity surrounding the death of the podcaster and bowel cancer awareness campaigner Dame Deborah James, who passed away in June. 

New NHS blood test trial could stop one in ten UK cancer deaths, say researchers (

Cancer: ‘Holy grail’ blood test being trialled by NHS could stop thousands of deaths | Science | News |

Record numbers having bowel cancer checks following death of Dame Deborah James (

Dame Deborah James inspires ‘record’ number of bowel cancer checks | Metro News

AstraZeneca Reveals Cancer Drug Success

AstraZeneca has revealed its drug trial for Enhertu has been successful, yielding positive results to “significantly delay disease progression” in those suffering from HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. 

Earlier this week (August 15th), the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company announced the findings of its DESTINY-Breast02 Phase III trial of Enhertu versus physician’s choice of treatment. 

This showed the drug achieved a “statistically and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) in patients”. It also boosted overall survival of those with metastatic breast cancer who had previously been treated with trastuzumab emtansine. 

Executive vice president of oncology research and development (R&D) at AstraZeneca Susan Galbraith stated: “The DESTINY-Breast02 trial results in this patient population with advanced disease confirm the efficacy and safety profile seen in DESTINY-Breast01.”

The study, which has been created to be an HER2-directed antibody drug conjugate (ADC), confirmed the findings in the DESTINY-Breast01 Phase II trial. What’s more, no new safety concerns were outlined. 

Ms Galbraith added: “These data further strengthen our confidence in Enhertu and reinforce its potential to transform patient outcomes across multiple treatment settings.”

AstraZeneca developed and commercialised Enhertu together with Daiichi Sankyo, the second largest pharmaceutical company in Japan. 

Global head of R&D at Daiichi Sankyo Ken Takeshita commented that the results “enrich our clinical understanding of the benefit this therapy may offer patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer”

As this study was the confirmatory trial, it is a good sign Enhertu could be commercialised to be used as a viable and effective treatment for the one in five breast cancer patients that are HER2-positive.  

Mr Takeshita added: “We look forward to sharing these findings with regulatory authorities to add to the body of data for Enhertu for the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.”

Enhertu has already been approved in over 30 counties as a treatment for people with unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer if they have received  anti-HER2-based regimen previously and the disease has returned within six months of completing the treatment.

If Enhertu was approved as a drug in the UK without patients having had to already undergo an anti-HER2-based regimen, this could help a significant proportion of the 55,920 new cases of breast cancer per annum. It could also potentially save some of the 11,499 people who die every year from the disease in Britain. 

While 75.9 per cent of women with breast cancer in England will live for another ten years or more after their diagnosis, according to Cancer Research, this figure could be even greater with a more effective treatment. 

Currently, 81 per cent of patients in the UK have surgery to remove the tumour; 63 per cent have radiotherapy; and 34 er cent have chemotherapy. 

Thanks to advancements in treatments, such as AstraZeneca’s and Daiichi Sankyo’s, mortality rates for breast cancer are expected to drop by 26 per cent from 2014’s figures to 2035’s, falling to 31 deaths per 100,000 females. 

As many as one in seven females will experience breast cancer during their lifetime, which means any dip in mortality rates will have a significant impact on women’s health. 

For more information about breast cancer treatments in Sheffield, get in touch with us today. 

Survey Shows Britons Slow To Seek Help For Cancer Symptoms

An alarming new survey finding has revealed that half of Britons wait for at least six months to speak to their GPs if they notice a symptom that could be a sign of cancer,

The finding emerged from a YouGov survey conducted for Cancer Research UK revealed that 48 per cent of those who had symptoms like coughing up blood, sudden inexplicable weight loss or found a lump did not seek an appointment with their doctor straight away.

A particular concerns was that many trying to get an appointment with a GP found it hard to do so. Only 74 per cent of those from low-income backgrounds were able to get to see their doctor, compared with 81 per cent of wealthier people.

Commenting on the findings, Cancer Research UK chief executive Michelle Mitchell said: “Spotting cancer early is vital if more people are to survive, and the first step in that process is getting help for a possible cancer symptom.” She expressed concern at the “large gap in accessing services between the UK’s most and least deprived groups”.

Ms Mitchell went on to note that the government has made better cancer diagnosis and elimination of health disparities a key priority. She said with a new white paper on tackling disparities and a ten year plan for England, the health secretary appointed by the next prime minister “has a huge opportunity to transform cancer survival with a clear and strong plan that works for all”.

While some cancers, such as lung cancer, are less of a threat as people do not smoke as much as they used to, others may need a lot more vigilance and early check-ups when anomalies are detected.

Cancer Research noted earlier this summer that skin cancer rates among British men have jumped 219 per cent since the 1970s as overseas holidays in hot countries and a habit of going shirtless – with cancers commonly found on torsos – have become more common.

The increase for women was substantially lower, but still large, at 76 per cent.

Half of UK adults ‘don’t contact GP within six months of finding cancer symptom’ | Evening Standard

Thousands of people ignore alarming cancer symptoms – Cancer Research study |

Skin cancer death rates in men risen dramatically in the last 50 years (

Cancer Survivor Hails Recovery From Terminal Diagnosis

A cancer survivor from Cheshire has highlighted the reality that some people still manage to survive even if they have been told their diagnosis is terminal.

Jenny Sumner, a 34-year-old florist from Chester, first visited her doctor in 2020 with what she thought was irritable bowel syndrome. However, after “excruciating” symptoms persisted she had a hospital scan in October that year, which revealed a 10cm inch tumour. Further checks showed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.

Medics gave her a terminal diagnosis, but after a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy that started in November 2020 she made a complete recovery and been given the all-clear in July last year. She has since been involved in sponsored runs in aid of Cancer Research, including one 100-mile event.

Speaking to Cheshire Live, Ms Sumner said: “I went through all the treatment and managed to get rid of it. It was last July when I actually got the all clear.”

She added: “I was responding really well to treatment and I am really lucky to still be here. It’s been a rollercoaster.”

Ms Sumner noted that the symptoms she had, including blood in her stools, were similar to those experienced by the late Dame Deborah James, the ‘You, me and the Big C’ podcast host who recently died of the disease at the age of 40

While this particular case did not end in an early death, the need to identify early signs of the disease is usually the key to survival.

This was a point made by Dame Deborah, whose efforts to overcome stigma about bowel movements included using the nickname ‘bowelbabe’ and even once dressing up as a giant poo.

Ms Sumner was in no doubt about the importance of this, commenting: “Do not hesitate to go to the doctor, no matter how embarrassed you are. I pushed as hard as I could.”

‘I’m really lucky to still be here’ says Chester florist who overcame terminal cancer diagnosis – Cheshire Live (

Dame Deborah James: Cancer campaigner dies aged 40 – BBC News

TV Star Explains How She Is Preventing Cancer Recurrence

TV presenter Julia Bradbury has spoken publicly about her experience of breast cancer, including the steps she is taking to help prevent a recurrence of the disease.

Ms Bradbury, famous for her Wainwright Walks and other travel and nature shows, told Woman & Home magazine about her experiences of undergoing a mastectomy and having a silicone implant, as well as how she is cutting down on alcohol.
Outlining how her top priority is “staying alive for my children,” the 51-year-old admitted: “Historically, I haven’t been kind to my body or my gut. I had a reputation for drinking everybody else under the table.”

Now, she revealed, she doesn’t “feel comfortable drinking alcohol”, explaining that while one unit of alcohol a day would put her risk of recurrence at five or six per cent, four units a day would raise it as high as 28 per cent.
Ms Bradbury also rejected the notion that her getting cancer was just down to “bad luck”, noting that her refined sugar intake had been too high and that there were often too many toxins of all sorts in her diet.

While stating that her silicone implant is actually visible because her low levels of body fat make her skin thinner, the presenter said she wasn’t keen on further surgery and was focused on making the most of her life, describing her mantra as “be grateful for what you do have, not what you don’t have”.

As well as diet, various other factors influence the risk of breast cancer recurring. While five years without cancer can be seen as a cure in some cases, for those with hormone-sensitive tumours the recurrence can occur as much as 20 years later.

However, the fact remains that survival rates have risen significantly in recent decades as treatment and understanding of the disease have improved.

Julia Bradbury gives up alcohol to help stop cancer returning | Metro News

Julia Bradbury opens up on life after breast cancer surgery (

Late Recurrence of Breast Cancer (

Breast cancer recurrence: Statistics, symptoms, and more (

Early Warning Signs Of Cancer

Early diagnosis is an essential part of treating cancer effectively and reducing the risk of it spreading to places or in ways that make it inoperable.

One of the best ways of spotting and stopping cancer early is to be aware of some of the common symptoms and conditions that could be linked to the condition.

This allows for cancer care to be provided as soon as it is needed and avoids the complications that come with the late stages of the disease.

It must be noted that with 200 different types of cancer with very different symptoms, having a universal set of warning signs is not entirely helpful, and it also needs to be stated that simply having one or even several of these symptoms does not mean you have cancer.

However, if you have a symptom similar to one of these that is unusual for you, tell your doctor.

Blood Where There Shouldn’t Be

If you notice yourself coughing up blood, or if there is blood in your stool or pee, this is a sign to book an appointment with your doctor, especially if you cannot pinpoint another cause for it.

In the mouth, coughing up blood can be a sign of a tongue or mouth ulcer, which is itself a potential symptom.

A Loss Of Appetite

Losing your appetite temporarily is a symptom of many illnesses, but if you constantly feel bloated and never seem to feel hungry anymore, it could be a sign of a tumour affecting your digestive system.

Similarly, if you notice weight loss that you cannot account for, this can also be attributable to some forms of cancer, although there can of course be other reasons.

Unusual Lumps, Sores And Pain

Lumps are a more commonly known symptom, and many incredible campaigns have encouraged people to feel for changes in their breasts, genitals and other parts of their body.

However, there are other ways cancer can manifest as well, such as moles that either develop or have changed from how they were, a cut or sore that does not seem to heal, or pains that seem to come from nowhere.

Debunking Common Cancer Myths

One of the most vital parts of cancer treatment is time, as the earlier a tumour or lesion is discovered, the more treatment options are available for private cancer services to reduce or even remove the cancerous cells from the body.

Cancer, however, is a wide range of different conditions, and because of this, there have developed a lot of misconceptions over the years that can at best cause unnecessary stress and at worse delay potentially life-threatening treatment.

Here are some of the most common myths surrounding cancer and the truth behind them.

Cancer Is Not Contagious

There is a common but untrue assumption that all diseases are contagious, but it must be made clear that there is no way to “catch cancer” from another person with it. That’s simply not how the disease works.

Where this misconception seems to have come from is the cancer risk associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), some variations of which can increase the risk of cancer in some people.

Sometimes Cancer Treatments Can Wait

One of the most difficult concepts is the idea that time can sometimes be on your side after a cancer diagnosis, and the reason for this is based on the first principle of the Hippocratic oath: do no harm.

In some cases, with slow-growing cancers and tumours that do not spread, it can sometimes be better to manage the disease with other, less invasive therapies first, whilst leaving treatment to be a last resort.

The opposite can be true as well; if someone is in the late stages of cancer or facing other diseases, the most appropriate course of treatment can be ensuring that they are free of pain and comfortable.

Treatments can be invasive, and the responsible approach is to ensure that cure does not cause more harm than the disease or does not present more risk than the disease would.

Cancers Can Be Painless

Pain can be a common symptom of cancer but is not always present, with some cancers never causing pain, although pain management is still a vital part of treatment even in cases where there is none.

Dietary Cholesterol ‘Could Increase’ Bladder Cancer Risk In Men

A new study looking into the impact of dietary cholesterol intake has found that, with higher intake of products like animal fat, there is an increased risk of bladder cancer in men.

Carried out by the World Cancer Research Fund, the study involved more than 540,000 participants from 11 different countries, with each individual’s fat and oil intake calculated in grams per day per 1,000 kcal.

For women, it was found that consuming monounsaturated fatty acids and plant-based oils saw the risk of developing bladder cancer decrease.

The biggest cause of high cholesterol is eating large amounts of food containing saturated fat, such as red meat, sausages, meat pies and so on. Other risk factors include not getting enough exercise and being overweight.

Bladder cancer is the tenth most common cancer in the world and the sixth most common cancer in men. For women, it’s the 17th most common cancer. In 2020, there were approximately 573,000 new cases of bladder cancer.

Commenting on the study’s findings, lead author Dr Anke Wesselius said: “How fats and oils affect the development of bladder cancer hasn’t yet been fully explored, though saturated fats play a big part in many Western diets.

“These findings suggest that the quality of fat consumed has an impact on the likelihood of developing bladder cancer, and men could see a benefit in reducing levels of animal fats in their diets.”

Familiarising yourself with some of the main symptoms of bladder cancer could prove beneficial, as you may be able to catch the disease before it has a chance to spread. Early intervention is key when it comes to health. 

Common symptoms include blood in your urine,a need to urinate more frequently, sudden urge to urinate and a burning sensation when urinating.

Looking for private bladder cancer treatment in the UK? Get in touch with Sheffield Oncology today.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on radiotherapy services in England, UK: a population-based study

Dr Mymoona Alzouebi

“It is estimated that one third of all cancer patients will require radiotherapy during their cancer journey.

In the attached study, the data shows the impact the pandemic has had on radiotherapy services. Whilst some areas have seen significant reduction in radiotherapy treatments – cancers of the bladder, rectum and oesophagus witnessed an increase. This may be a reflection of the reduced surgical activity. Changes in services has also allowed for increased use of hypo-fractionated regimens – especially in breast and prostate cancer.”

Read the full article here

Maximizing rectal dose sparing with hydrogel: A retrospective planning study

Dr Mymoona Alzouebi

“SpaceOAR© hydrogel (SOH) has been incorporated into the radiotherapeutic management of prostate cancer as a result of the proven benefits in reducing rectal toxicity and improving quality of life.
In this study rectal dose sparing of greater than 25% was achieved in most post‐SpaceOAR© Hydrogel treatment plans generated in this planning study.”‍

Read the full study here