On the pulse – 28 May 2012

Cancerkin’s News Update…

Not long left to register for the Hyde Park Walk

There are just a few days left until the closing date for entries for the Hyde Park Walk. The last day for entries is this Friday 1st June, with the walk taking place on Sunday 17th June. Click here to register now!

As announced last week, we are thrilled that Actor and Cancerkin Patron Tom Conti will be joining us on the day to officially open the 25th anniversary celebrations.  We hope you will join him and the Cancerkin team down at the park in June.

Volunteer Marshals needed

We are currently recruiting volunteers to act as Marshals at the Hyde Park Walk on 17 June. They will play a vital role in the event – guiding our walkers around the park and making sure they do not get lost! Volunteering for Cancerkin can be a very rewarding experience as well as being a lot of fun! If you would like to help out on the day, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Laura on l.smith@cancerkin.org.uk or 0207 830 2323 to find our more.

Art therapy workshops at Cancerkin…

We are pleased to announce that Cancerkin has received funding from the Make A Difference Trust to begin holding weekly art therapy workshops here at the Cancerkin Centre. The sessions will be led by Kirsty Nicholson, a qualified Art Therapist who has worked with both groups and individuals offering art therapy in a variety of settings, including previous groups at Cancerkin. Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy and can be particularly helpful for people who have difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings verbally.  No artistic skill or experience is needed, as the sessions are not art classes, but rather aim to enable personal understanding and growth through the use of art materials in a supportive and safe environment. Sessions will be every Thursday from 3:00pm to 4:30pm, starting on 7th June 2012. If you would like to attend, please contact Alice on a.boyle@cancerkin.org.uk or call 0207 830 2323.

On Thursday, we say goodbye to Catarina Vasconcelos, an Art Psychotherapy trainee at the University of Roehampton, who has been holding individual and group sessions of art therapy at Cancerkin over the last few months as part of her degree work placement. We thank Catarina for all her help and hard work during her time here, and wish her all the best in her studies.

In the news…

IVF and breast cancer risk…

A recent study carried out at the University of Western Australia has produced interesting conclusions about the relationship between IVF infertility treatment and breast cancer risk. Some forms of breast cancer are fuelled by the hormone oestrogen, levels of which may be up to 13 times higher when undergoing a cycle of IVF treatment. The researchers, writing in Fertility and Sterility Journal, believe that there is no overall increase in risk of developing the disease associated with IVF for women who have treatment in their thirties and forties. However, they believe that there is an increased risk in women who receive the treatment at a younger age.


Researchers compared results from women who were having IVF treatment with those who were being treated for infertility but were not having IVF and with the general female population not undergoing any kind of treatment. They followed 21,025 women over an average of 16 years. 7,381 of those involved in the study were having IVF treatment and 384 of those involved went on to develop breast cancer. It was taken into account that, in general, women who decided to have IVF treatment are more likely to have a child at a later age than is usual, as having children at an older age is a known breast cancer risk factor. They found that women who started having infertility treatment at the age of 24 were 1.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women of the same age not receiving treatment.

Lead author Louise Stewart of the School of Public Health at University of Western Australia, wrote: “The results of this study will be reassuring to women who commence IVF treatment in their thirties and forties, because for these women, there appears to be no direct association between IVF treatment and breast cancer risk. Nevertheless, women should be aware that delivering their first child late in reproductive life, whether assisted by IVF or not, is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. For younger women there is some cause for concern, because it appears that they may face an increased risk of breast cancer after IVF treatment.

In response, experts have warned that the findings concerning younger women could be the result of chance or of a short-term increased risk. Dr Paul Pharoah, Reader in Cancer Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge, said: “The findings may be the result of chance or bias. If real, the absolute increase in risk is small and should not be regarded by women considering IVF as relevant. The effects of pregnancy on breast cancer risk occur over several decades, and this study provides no data on the long term effects of IVF on breast cancer risk.” Dr Linda Giudice, President-elect of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, said: “The development of breast cancer is linked to oestrogen exposure and the longer one is exposed, the greater the risk. […] For younger women, there is the possibility that IVF is associated with increased risk, but more research is needed to confirm this.”

To read more, please click here.

Laura Smith

Actor Tom Conti does his bit for breast cancer at charity walk

Actor Tom Conti will be pulling on his running shoes and joining the ladies at a sponsored walk in Hyde Park in aid of women with breast cancer.

Conti, who recently appeared in Street Dance 2, will be helping Hampstead breast cancer charity Cancerkin[1] to kick off their 25th anniversary celebrations at the walk on Sunday 17 June 2012.

As patron of the charity, Conti has been involved in Cancerkin’s fundraising efforts in many weird and wonderful ways. In 2011, he turned fashion designer and created a bra for auction. In 2012, the year of the Olympics, he will be getting active and leading the crowds as they set off around the Park.

“Last year, I auctioned my bra. This year I’m getting out my running shoes! I am really excited to be involved in Cancerkin’s anniversary celebrations. The Hyde Park Walk will be a great fun day out, but it is also a real chance to reflect on the wonderful work Cancerkin has done over the last 25 years supporting women with breast cancer,” he said.

Joining Tom will be a group of young athletes and future Olympic hopefuls, who are mentored by Track Academy, a community organisation that uses sport for social change. They will run in honour of one athlete’s mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and has been supported by Cancerkin during her treatment. Project Coordinator and mentor, Chantal Duarte, said: “We’re glad to be able to show our support for Cancerkin and can’t wait to take part in June. It’s so great to see our young people getting involved with such a worthy cause and we hope to raise as much money as we can.”

Chief Executive Victoria Todd said: “This is a truly wonderful way to celebrate our 25th Anniversary – stars of the stage and screen and stars of the future giving support to our patients. What an uplifting, inspiring and heart warming occasion for all those living with cancer.”



On the pulse – 18 May 2012

Cancerkin news…

Tom Conti joins us at the Hyde Park Walk

We are thrilled to announce that this year we will be joined by a special guest of honour at our Hyde Park Walk on 17 June. Actor and Cancerkin Patron Tom Conti will be officially opening the day’s 25th anniversary celebrations by cutting the starting line. He will then be joining our walkers as they make their way around the park.

If you’d like to come down to Hyde Park and celebrate with Tom and the Cancerkin team, all you need to do is complete a simple entry form, which can be found on our website.

Volunteer Marshals needed

We are currently recruiting volunteers to act as Marshals at the Hyde Park Walk on 17 June. They will play a vital role in the event – guiding our walkers around the park and making sure they do not get lost! Volunteering for Cancerkin can be a very rewarding experience as well as being a lot of fun! If you would like to help out on the day, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Laura on l.smith@cancerkin.org.uk or 0207 830 2323 to find our more.

Creative Writing Workshop

Lily Seibold will hold a creative writing group on Monday 11th June at 10am – 3pm. The theme of the workshop is ‘change’. Participants will discuss, and write about change, exploring both negative and positive aspects, focusing on their own lives, those of famous writers and a changing world. Complimentary tea and coffee will be available throughout the day. Please contact Alice on a.boyle@cancerkin.org.uk or 0207 830 2323 if you would like to reserve a place.


In the news…

Rates of premature cancer deaths are falling

Cancer Research UK has released exciting figures this week that show a significant drop in the rates of people who are dying from cancer during their fifties. Statistics show that cancer deaths in 50-59 years olds have decreased from over 21,300 in 1971 to 14,000 in 2010. This is a drop of 40 percent over the last 40 years. Scientists found that cancer rates had dropped from 310 deaths in every 100,000 people in 1971, to 185 in every 100,000 in 2010. Overall, the biggest decreases were amongst those with stomach cancer or Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In men, the cancers with the biggest fall in death rates were stomach, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, testicular and lung cancer. In women, rates had fallen most for cervical, stomach, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and bowel cancers.

It is thought that the decrease of deaths in this age group is due to a combination of factors. These include access to better chemotherapy, which has led to improved  survival rates for cancers such as testicular and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as a considerable drop in smoking rates, the introduction of better screening programmes, better treatments such as tamoxifen, improvements in radiotherapy, the development of new drugs and improved delivery of diagnosis and treatment by the NHS.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician said:  “Our latest figures show that for the first time in the last four decades cancer deaths among people aged 50-59 have dropped below 14,000 a year. This is really encouraging news and it highlights the huge progress we have. The reduction in people smoking has been a big help, and we are also better at diagnosing cancers early and better at treating them whether by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Our research has been critical to this progress, and the pace continues to increase as we bring the knowledge from our laboratories into the clinic more and more, and carry out the clinical trials to show which treatments are best.” Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, added: “There is still so much more to do.  Smoking remains the largest cause of cancer which is why Cancer Research UK is petitioning the government to bring in plain packaging of tobacco so children are less likely to be seduced by the sophisticated marketing techniques designed to make smoking attractive to youngsters.”

In response, the Department of Health said that: “These figures reflect advancements in cancer services, but our survival rates still lag behind comparable countries. That’s why we are investing more than £750 million to make sure people are diagnosed with cancer earlier and have better access to the latest treatments. Through our investment our aim is to save 5,000 more lives every year by 2015 – closing the gap in cancer survival between us and the best-performing countries in the world.”

To read more about the statistics, you can visit the Cancer Research UK website or read the Guardian’s article. If you are interested in finding out about the campaign for plain packaging of tobacco, click here.

Laura Smith