Tag Archives: Cancer Research UK

What IS happening to taxes – are they going to NHS?

Major Cancer Helpline

exercise cartoon

Advises “Go private”

Continue reading

Cancer Charities get organised and Chat with a purpose

Election is hotting things up –

and charities realise Survivors need supporting!

It’s surprising how a forthcoming Election galvanises people into action – and now that Cancer Charities want us to go out and ‘fight’ for what is needed – they are realising that it is survivors who are most passionate about changing things for the better. and sp there is a feeling that WE are useful – which thry knew – but perhaps giving us support will mean we are keener!  .Macmillan

This logo on the left is an old one – but really says what next year is all about. Electioneering!

Charities are going all out to get politicians activated. George Osbourne has been targeted by 38 Degrees, the online petition campaigners, and made to cough up  £2billion for  front-line NHS services.  He needs to be kept at it, as already there are signs that the money is coming out of another budget Continue reading

Helplines and helpful web addresses


The web has useful information –

where survivors can find itlap top 2

Doctors often dismiss information on the web, and when you look up the NHS’s National Cancer Survivors’ Initiative site, you can see why.  Set up by Dept. Health  “Consultants”, it is pathetic.  But, there is excellent help out there, both with tons of useful  information, and pointers to excellent Helplines.

Some of my favourites are: Continue reading

Is it safe to consult ‘Dr. Google’?

Are websites accurate and                                                                              informative?

Many doctors hate it if we say we have looked up something on Google – but with long delays to see a GP, how else can we get information whilst we wait for an appointments if we are anxious?Senior Couple on Computer - Vertical

Many patients say they don’t like to bother their doctor, and now a survey shows one in four of us trust Google more than the GP.  Frightening – but who can blame us?

My GP says he trusts his patients

listens to them, and says many of them know their own bodies best.  But then he is a private GP; Continue reading

Stand Up 2 Cancer

English: Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2011 Venice Fi...

YOU made a difference


Cancer Research UK have announced that they raised



from their recent TV Show.

However, they are still having donations coming in, ” so we can’t say exactly how much we have raised, we only have the amount raised from the Friday show”.


Television, music and film stars came together in a national fundraising event to get us all donating in the fight against cancer.

The nice thing about organisers Cancer Research UK (CRUK)  is that they say thank you – see this video they have released:  http://supportus.cancerresearchuk.org/campaign-pages/2012-annual-update/?utm_campaign=Annual_Update_120912&utm_content=45157586552&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Emailvision

What you can still do

CRUK need YOUR support.   Unlike in the States, they haven’t the funds to pay for massive advertising to alert everyone to what is happening.

You can do your bit by

  • getting your local Pub to run a fund-raising evening to watch the Telethon on the 19th
  • get your office or workplace to organise a collection
  • get friends together to fundraise

and this will help CRUK raise a record amount to zap cancer on the head.

What’s happening

Bringing together a unique mix of entertainment, science and fundraising, a super-sized group of celebrities will come together to show their support for SU2C UK, including: The Simpsons, Tom Daley, Kylie Minogue, Leona Lewis, Cheryl Cole, Jonnie Peacock, Emeli Sande, Jenson Button, JLS, Jimmy Carr, Jack Whitehall, Anna Friel, The Cast of 8 out of 10 Cats, The English National Ballet, Martin Freeman, Miranda Hart, Simon Bird, and David Haslehoff in a mixture of live appearances and specially recorded messages.

Alan Carr revealed: “Pretty much everyone will be affected by this disease in their lifetime, and that’s the very simple reason why I’m honoured to be involved with this campaign. Like so many people, I’ve seen exactly how destructive the big C is. I’ve lost two people already this.

Since Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) began in the USA in 2008, it has raised more than £100 million for cancer research.

WHAT you can do

Start to plan ahead for the Telethon next year.

Ask you local Pub if they will host an evening nexg year.

As Gwyneth Paltrow says: “Like so many people all over the world, I know what it’s like to lose a loved one to cancer; it took my Dad in the prime of his life. Stand Up To Cancer has the power to revolutionise the way we fight this disease, by uniting doctors, scientists and patients in groundbreaking research. This special broadcast will mark a wonderful milestone as SU2C evolves into a true global movement.”

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, says: “It’s not just technology or knowledge that we need to win our fight to beat cancer – it’s funding – and every pound we raise is a step closer to achieving our goal to beat this disease.

We are entering the ‘golden age’ of cancer research – but each and every one of us can stand up and make a difference right now to come together to raise vital funds for clinical research, accelerate progress and ultimately save more lives.”

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National Cancer Outcomes Conference

National Cancer Intelligence Network


The N.C.I.N. organised this conference, which was held at Birmingham’s N.E.C,.

This was a brave attempt at involving patients and professionals equally.  However, it did prove that medical professionals may pay lip service to ‘involving’ patients, but often, in reality, have difficulty in addressing this issue.

Paying lip service
The aim of the conference was laudable;  patients were to be treated as equals.  In fact, we were even given free accommodation and free travel if we were a genuine patient.

However, the professionals were still being condescending, and not quite up to sharing information equally.

But patients are used to this, and we all got useful information from the event.  Out of around 500 delegates, probably one fifth were patients, so we weren’t overwhelmed!

Speakers were generally excellent, and as other delegates confirmed, they didn’t ‘talk down’ to us. They spoke enthusiastically, and didn’t use too much jargon!

Ray Murphy, Chairman of the National Cancer Partnership Forum kicked off with the chilling statement :

“we needed to save 5,000 liver patients’ lives a year just to keep up with Europe”.

Dr. Mick Peake, from the N. C.I.N. said there was a need to enthuse doctors to use cancer data to change clinical practice as it is currently.

As Dr. Natalie Blencower stated, when she gave an excellent presentation about outcomes and why they are important to patients AND surgeons, a recent survey had found that “patients were still not receiving enough information”.

What’s happening in Europe?
Proving that the N.C.I.N. are not only concerned about the EU’s better cancer outcomes, but were keen to do something about it – a major session saw Dr Jane Hanson, Lead Advisor for Cancer, Welsh Government & Head of Cancer National Specialist Advisory Group Core Team, introduce a session entitled  ‘Towards a European cancer information system; the EUROCOURSE project and beyond”.

This was followed by presentations from Harry Comber, Director, Irish National Cancer Registry on ‘ Cancer survival in Europe’: “first results from the EUROCARE-5 study.

Dr Roberta De Angelis, Senior Researcher, National Centre of Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Health talked about ‘The International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP),  and Dr Martine Bomb, Programme Manager, Cancer Research UK  gave the UK perspective.

These were all excellent speakers, but one couldn’t help wishing that more time had been allotted, to enable the very interested audience to have an opportunity to ask questions and get a good dialogue going.  A packed room was filled with delegates eager to ask questions – but sadly not enough time to get them out.

One piece of information that was flashed onto the screens was a slide showing where  research was being carried out in Europe:

10 work packages have been produced, covering

  1. WP1 Exchange of knowledge about national programmes
  2. WP2 Ethical conduct of research
  3. WP3 Tools for improving the quality, coverage and use of cancer registration data in Europe
  4. WP4 The development, harmonization, analysis and exchange of European cancer registry data
  5. WP5 Interface of cancer registries with cancer screening programmes
  6. WP6 Interface of cancer registries with clinical care
  7. WP7 Interface of cancer registries with biobanks
  8. WP8 Dissemination of findings and training
  9. WP9 European cancer control summit
  10. WP10 Coordination of EUROCOURSE activities

Perhaps next year there might be more time to discuss these work packages, and a hand-out giving contact details?

Poster Displays

Whilst browsing this very interesting and colourful display, I came across Marina Raime, the lively founder of Betterdays cancer care.  Marina went to the States and took one of their Patient Navigation courses, and is now running a programme in London – supported by Lambeth, Southark and other NHS offices.  Let’s hope this programme receives a lot of support, as we could certainly do with the survivorship assistance that seems to be the norm in the U.S.A.  www.betterdays.uk.com or at King’s College:  www.selbreastscreening.org.uk 


It is not acceptable in this day and age for the catering at a conference dealing with cancer, to go against al the advice to eat healthily, organically, etc.

At breakfast, a casual remark to the waiter “are the eggs free range?”, bought out
an embarrassed, “no, we don’t serve free-range eggs any more.

It was difficult during the main meals to find free-range chicken meat either – instead there were bland palid looking main dishes – which cried out for herbs.

Neither is it acceptable in this day and age for the Maintenance crew to spend more time in guests’ bedrooms than the paying guest.  The final straw in my room, where I had almost got used to sharing the room with the friendly maintenance man, was to have to call the poor man yet again as water was dripping loudly on my carpet and soaking the area.

I can’t help feeling that a professional organiser might be usefully employed – ordinary delegates to professional conferences demand better facilities and services for their payments – but when a charity or the NHS is picking up the tab – perhaps standards are allowed to drop.  Even though, from comments from staff, it didn’t seem that this conference had got any cheap deals.

Certainly a normal ‘business’ hotel wouldn’t get away with charging £15 PER DAY for Internet access in a delegate’s room.

On Friday evening after the conference was over, a local friend took me to a superb hotel near-by: Hampton Manor, to show me what could be done for the same basic costs.  She works in conference and exhibition organising, so knows what’s what.

Hampton Manor provided a superb meal – and I noticed all the a la carte menu prices were less than those in the Hilton’s main restaurant.  Yes, organisers would have negotiated a cheap deal but basic prices are ones which to work from when negotiating.

Prices at this hotel were a rack rate of £150 per night – although they had special deals
from £85.  Sadly it would be too small for a major conference, but if they can do it – why
not search for other hotels that can deliver same superb service?

But as usual Virgin Trains had come up with excellent deals, and speaking to others with disabilities, we had welcomed the way there always seems a cheerful staff member on hand to help with luggage – much appreciated!

The next Cancer Outcomes Conference will take place on the 13th and 14th June, 2013..

National Cancer Intelligence Network  (NCIN)

18th Floor, Portland House,

Bressenden Place



Phone: 020 8282 6258

Fax: 020 7869 8191

E-mail: enquiries@ncin.org.uk


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Breakthrough – latest reseach in cure for cancer

What happens to YOUR donation?



This week, three major pieces of research have been published which change the way we think about breast cancer.


All have been funded in part by funds people like you have donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, with involvement from two of their key scientists, Professors Jorge Reis-Filho and Andrew Tutt.

British success story

It is good to report on a British success;  when Cameron and Lansley constantly bang on about how much better other countries are at treating cancer, they forget to mention that British research institutes such as Cancer Research UK are way up there at the top of the world.

Now Breakthrough’s research team has announced ground-breaking findings about Breast Cancer,  and their research revealed:

1. Nine new genes which drive the development of breast cancer – ahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcrVUJvKA1E&feature=relmfureatment before her cancer progresses.

3. A previously unknown process that happens to the cells in the body and which is a driver in breast cancer development. By understanding this process we hope to be able to create targeted treatments in the future which, for example, might be able to stop the cancer from developing.

The ramifications of this work in terms of how we diagnose, treat and prevent the disease are potentially huge. You can read more about these on Breakthrough’s website


Their work shows how far they have come since Breakthrough was founded 20 years ago. But it also shows how important it is that funds are raised to enable them to carry on their work, until we all reach a point when breast cancer is a disease which is no longer life-threatening.

If you are reading this, and have contributed to Breakthrough, it’s good to know your support has been vital in helping them get this far. It is now needed more than ever, so they can build on the exciting breakthroughs like those reported this week.

Christ Askew of Breakthrough says “Thank you so much for your continued support. I really do believe that this news takes us further towards ending the fear of breast cancer”.


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Wales wants to ban smoking anywhere in hospitals


The Welsh Cancer Charity Tenovus wants to ban smoking at Welsh hospitals, and ask anyone who lights up a fag politely to do this outside the hospital premises.

Some Welsh hospitals have even dismantled the shelters erected to protect smokers from bad weather. And this video shows the dismantling, plus some not very happy comments from smokers


Cancer Research UK agrees, and is mounting a campaign under the banner of

The answer is plain


This is the title of  Cancer Research UK’s campaign to stop youngsters taking up smoking.

At a young age, choosing which brands you consume is an important way to create an identity. And they think kids can live without tobacco branding.

Plain packaging means removing all branding from cigarette packs. This means that all packs, from all tobacco brands, will look the same.

This won’t stop everyone from smoking, but it will give millions of kids one less reason to start.

BUT – it’ll only happen with your support. Act now while the Government is listening by  clicking on


and signing the petition.

Plain packs

This campaign is about smokers and non-smokers, coming together to protect the next generation from taking up the habit in the first place.

As Mary from Preston, a previous smoker comments, “I remember how important cigarette brands were to me when I first started smoking. That was 40 odd years ago: it took me several attempts to give up such an addictive habit”.

So please show your support to tell the Government that you support the plain packaging of tobacco products.

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Good news on cancer research front

Cancer mortality rates down


Ground-breaking research paves the way


Latest figures from around the world show cancer mortality rates declining

Cancer Research UK

Image via Wikipedia


Britain’s Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is amongst top cancer research establishments working around the world to help prevent and treat cancer, and has done much to help improve cancer outcomes.

CRUK is admired by top hospitals and oncologists around the world for the excellence of their research.  Once, Britain’s hospitals were at the forefront of cancer treatment.  Today, David Cameron and Andrew Lansley are fond of saying we lag behind the world in cancer treatment – and they don’t seen inclined to do anything about this.

But thanks to  CRUK’s, Britain still leads in the world of  cancer research.

CRUK is entirely funded by donations from the general public and major corporate fund-raising i.e. YOU.  In 2010/11 £332 million was raised, proving that when politicians leave British world-class establishments alone – they remain world class.

Achievements in 2011

Without political interference, CRUK can co-operate with research going on in other countries;  co-operating where one research centre can best learn from another.  Scientists often work closely with colleagues in other labs – often in other countries – sharing resources, passing on expertise, and looking at the problem through multiple lenses.

Medscape website cited ”2011 – top game changers in oncology”, and listed what, in the opinion of a number of leading cancer researchers, were the year’s top ten developments in international cancer research.

So what does your fundraising pay for?

Just as researchers’ progress is interwoven with the efforts of others, so many of recent worldwide discoveries are built on previous hard work by scientists whom, thanks to your support, CRUK has funded.

Here’s a list of Medscape’s top ten ‘game changers’, and – where relevant – CRUK’s role to help bring them about.

Swedish trial shows new ‘Herceptin-like’ drug improves survival in Her2 breast cancer that’s spread

A new modified version of trastuzumab (Herceptin), called trastuzumab emtansine (or T-DM1), gave improved results when compared against the standard treatment (trastuzumab given with separate chemotherapy) for women with advanced breast cancer, according to a Swedish trial presented at a leading European cancer conference.

The new drug works in a similar way to a lymphoma drug – it uses trastuzumab to ‘lock on’ to breast cancers that contain the Her2 protein, but also has a toxic ‘warhead’ – emtansine – to improve its ability to kill cells.  The advantage this drug has over using trastuzumab with a separate chemo drug is that it’s much less toxic, so can be given for longer.

CRUK researchers were heavily involved in the basic biological studies that ultimately led to trastuzumab, which targets a protein called Her2. Iin the 1980s a team of CRUK researchers in London discovered that a protein called EGFR is involved in cancer, and suggested that targeting it might be a good way to treat cancer. Other researchers subsequently discovered EGFR’s ‘sister’ protein, Her2 (EGFR is also known as Her1).

European trial improves neuroblastoma outcomes

At June’s American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) conference in the US, researchers from Austria showed that a treatment strategy involving two drugs – melphalan and busulphan – in place of current standard chemotherapy, could dramatically improve survival rates for children with neuroblastoma.

Both of these drugs were developed by CRUK’s scientists back in the 1950s. One of the questions CRUK get asked most on their Facebook page is about progress in childhood brain cancers – this research shows how beating this form of the disease has been a burning issue for researchers past and present.

New horizons in lung cancer

Also at ASCO, the team behind a large US study of lung cancer genetics showed how a slew of previously-known mutations is involved in ‘driving’ the disease. Since drugs that target many of these are already being developed, this raises the prospect of a transformation in lung cancer treatment in the near future.

CRUK has been heavily involved in the hunt for cancer-causing gene mutations over the years, and several of the genes spotted in this study were originally linked to cancer by Cruk funded researchers – notably BRAF, EGFR and NRAS.

Big strides in ‘ER-positive’ breast cancer

A large US trial showed that a combination of a targeted treatment called everolimus and a second drug called exemestane was so effective in treating oestrogen-sensitive breast cancer that the trial had to be stopped early to allow all participants to receive the treatment.

The lead investigator said the results were the “strongest data ever”, while another commented that it was “the most important advance” since trastuzumab (Herceptin) for women with this subtype of breast cancer.

Exemestane is a drug that’s been around for a while, and works by blocking the action of aromatase – part of the machinery the body uses to make oestrogen.  CRUK’s researchers led the first clinical trial of an aromatase blocker, and this was proof-of-concept that aromatase was an effective target for treatment.  They have also been heavily involved in trials to demonstrate how best to use these drugs.

Longer treatment of GIST with imatinib improves survival

A Finnish trial showed that patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) – a form of stomach cancer – survived even longer if they were treated with imatinib (Glivec) for three years rather than just one, settling a long-running debate in the medical community.

CRUK’s involvement here is substantial: in the early 2000s, researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, funded by CRUK, worked in collaboration with others on the continent to run phase I, II and III clinical trials which resulted in approval of imatinib for use in advanced GIST. These results were used to convince NICE to recommend the drug on the NHS.

New drug for lymphoma gets US approval

“Probably the hottest new drug out there” was how one clinician described a new treatment, known as brentuximab vedotin (Adcentris), for patients with either advanced treatment-resistant Hodgkin’s lymphoma or treatment-resistant anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.

The drug is made of two parts – a ‘cancer-seeking’ antibody which targets a protein found on these lymphomas called CD30, and a toxic ‘warhead’ called MMAE, which poisons the cancer cells’ interior. The results are an exciting proof-of-concept, as a US researcher told Medscape: “We now have demonstrated that you can take an antibody and link it strongly to a poison. It will get in the cells and kill them, without doing much damage to the rest of the body.”

The drug is not yet licensed in the UK, but its manufacturers have applied for a European license.

Drug combo extends survival in pancreatic cancer, but with increased side effects

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that a combination of four different chemo drugs, known as FOLFIRINOX, gave ‘best ever’ survival rates in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

But the combination wasn’t without its downsides – the treatment is much more aggressive than the standard treatment of gemcitabine (either alone or in combination with other drugs), so the authors only recommend treatment for younger patients (<76 years)  (Bless’em – they obviously don’t believe the over-60s are past it!)

High-dose methotrexate for acute lympoblastic leukaemia (ALL)

A large phase III trial in the US, reported at the ASCO conference, showed that treating children with a high-dose of a drug called methotrexate, rather than starting at lower doses and increasing them, led to better survival rates among those at high risk of recurrence.

Lung screening edges closer

CRUK has a warning:  Medscape’s number two development is, to us, a little controversial. As we reported on our news feed in August, a large US trial showed that screening heavy smokers with a technique called ‘spiral’ CT scanning, cut subsequent deaths from lung cancer by 20 per cent. This is a great result, but needs to be treated with caution – investigative surgery after having a positive result can be risky and invasive, so how exactly to use this technique to minimise these harms.

It’s worth pointing out that the link between smoking and cancer was identified in the 1950s here in the UK by Professors Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill. Professor Doll, together with Professor Richard Peto, went on to find out more about this link, and much of this work was supported by CRUK.  Consequently, we now know that smoking causes one in four cancer deaths, and is the leading avoidable cause of cancer.

Finally – progress in melanoma treatment

It’s no surprise that the top spot for ‘game-changing’ research went to research on melanoma. Several decades had past with little new to offer patients with the disease, but the Medscape authors describe the development of two new melanoma drugs – vemurafenib and ipilimumab – as “unprecedented”.

The first of these – vemurafenib – is one of a group of drugs called BRAF inhibitors, which target a molecule called BRAF.  These drugs wouldn’t have been possible without the pioneering work of CRUK scientists, who in 2002 discovered that over half of melanomas (and a significant proportion of other cancers) are caused by faults in the BRAF gene.

As well as being potentially a big step forward, vemurafenib exemplifies many elements of the new direction of cancer treatment, built on molecular knowledge of cancer’s inner workings (something we devote about 40 per cent of our funding towards)

Ipilimumab is a bit different. It’s an antibody, which – in some people – causes their immune system to seek out and destroy melanoma cells in their body.  Whilst we were disappointed to see that the high cost of ipilimumab, and the fact that doctors can’t predict who will respond and who won’t – means that NICE don’t think they’ll be able to recommend it for routine use in the NHS, it’s among several other immunotherapy drugs that have shown promise in clinical trials.

It seems that after many years in the shadows, immunotherapy is finally entering the limelight.

In summary, CRUK says this isn’t a definitive list – other significant hurdles were cleared this year too. But reading through the Medscape report, we were struck by several things:

  • the breadth of tactics used to tackle cancer
    the number of different types of cancer where things are now rapidly moving forwards
    and the excitement that decades of research in the lab, unpicking cancer’s inner secrets, is now starting to yield improved treatments that can help patients.

It was also heartening to see how the international research community is pulling in the same direction, and humbling to see how the research CRUK fund with out donations fits into this bigger picture.  So the £332 million that CRUK spent of our money last year, seems to be well spent.


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Malcolm Group turns the tables on Eddie Stobart

But it’s all in a good cause

At the star-spangled Emerald and Ivy Ball, held to raise money for Cancer Research UK, Andrew Malcolm put in a secret bid to have the name of his haulage company emblazoned on an iconic Eddie Stobart Truck.

Arch rivals in business, everyone laughed when the bid was revealed;  now the newest and biggest Eddie Stobart refrigerated trailer is pounding the motorways, with a special Malcolm Group livery emblazoned on one side, and the message

‘Together we will beat cancer’


So the two biggest names in the UK multimodal logistics industry have joined forces, and it is Cancer Research UK that will benefit.  Before the surprise bid, Stobarts had already donated £151,700 to the charity;  one pound for every mile a nominated truck had covered in 2010.

The other side of this massive monster above lists names of 75 individuals who have each pledged a £1000 financial contribution to the charity.  And if that wasn’t enough, a husband at the ball bid £5,000 to have his wife’s name, Debby, as the truck’s name.

Where was this?

Ronan Keating’s Emeralds & Ivy Ball was held in Battersea Power Station, and guests had no excuse for not seeing Eddie Stobart everywhere;  as they arrived their way in was lit by the headlights of a team of Stobart trucks lined up in immaculate formation, and inside were stars of the TV series now being aired about the company.

Guests at the Ball had another sight of these massive trailers, hitting them in the eye with the opportunity to bid for their name to be listed on the side of the refrigerated trailer for a full year. At the end of the evening, Andrew Malcolm, chief executive of the Malcolm Group, made a further donation to brand the remaining side and the rear with the distinctive Malcolm Group livery.

What Stobart fans can look out for

Eddie Stobart’s has a dedicated fan club, who, like train spotters of old, mark off each truck as it goes past.  But for the first fans to see the ‘new’ truck this must have been quite a shock – but not half as much as the Stobart Group when Malcolm’s cheeky bid was announced!  But it was all in a good cause, and now the trailer carries massive advertising to bring Cancer Research UK’s message to passers-by.

The trailer will operate on the Stobart Chilled network and will be pulled by a special Volvo FH16 tractor unit driven by Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers TV star Matt Ekins. The total mileage covered by the truck during 2011 will be converted to pounds and presented to the charity.

Andrew Tinkler, Stobart Group chief executive, said: “This is proof of how the UK logistics industry can work well together and, in this case, help raise an incredible amount of money for charity. We supported the event, but wanted to offer the charity ongoing public exposure after the event – so what better way than to brand an Eddie Stobart trailer. It’s fantastic that the Malcolm Group has come onboard as well to lend its support to this very worthy cause.”

As Andrew Malcolm, the Malcolm Group chief executive, said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the UK’s leading logistics providers to join forces to raise money and awareness for such worthy charities.”

The Emeralds & Ivy ball helped raise almost three quarters of a million pounds for Cancer Research UK and the Marie Keating Foundation.

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