On the pulse 22 August 2013

  • Cancerkin’s Lymphoedema Clinic needs you!
  • Statistics released this week show sharp regional divide in cancer incidence and mortality

Cancerkin’s Lymphoedema Clinic needs you!
Cancerkin is looking for volunteers to work in its Lymphoedema Clinic. The work our volunteers do is essential in helping patients suffering from lymphoedema to receive treatment. So, if you are interested please get in touch. Alternatively, if you know someone who may be interested in volunteering for us, do pass on our details.

Volunteers in the clinic help the Lymphoedema Therapists, who provide the treatment, with supportive and administrative tasks. They greet patients and help them prepare for examination and treatment and also do the administrative work essential to the running of the clinic. Volunteers should be able to demonstrate empathy, sensitivity and understand patients’ anxieties. They must be able to work in a calm and efficient manner. Experience of admin work and knowledge of IT would be desirable but training will be given. Volunteers’ working hours are 0830 to 1330 but frequency of work is flexible and can vary from once a week to once a month.

A detailed job description can be found on our website. If you are interested in applying please either email info@cancerkin.org.uk or write to Victoria Todd saying why you would like to volunteer and attaching a CV.  Applicants should be prepared to attend for interview and to provide references from their GP and one other referee. The deadline for applications is 6 September 2013.

Statistics released this week show sharp regional divide in cancer incidence and mortality
Cancer Research UK has launched a new website that provides a comprehensive breakdown of cancer statistics that can be searched geographically by postcode, constituency, local authority or healthcare area. These local figures can then be compared to the national average or directly with another location. This has revealed large regional differences across the UK in both cancer mortality and incidence rates, with London and the South coming out best and the North worst.

Broken down by area further, residents of affluent London boroughs, such as Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, were found to be the least likely people in the country to either develop or die from cancer, while northern cities such as Liverpool and Manchester have the highest prevalence and death rate of the disease.

Cancer Research UK said that this data starkly illustrates the existence of a north-side divide and highlights the need for local health chiefs in some of the worst performing areas to do more to tackle causes of cancer such as smoking, drinking and lack of exercise.

Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis and patient engagement at Cancer Research said: “There has been plenty in the news over the years about [the] north-south divide and a lot of factors will play into that. Incidences are very often a reflection of lives that have been led: deprivation, high smoking rates, high alcohol rates, low exercise – all the things that we know contribute to increased cancer risk.

“If you get well-established communities that are either incredibly well-off or deprived, the chances are you are going to get higher cancer incidences in the more deprived areas, and [the] converse.”

Head of Birmingham Cancer Research UK Centre Paul Moss added: “It has been known for hundreds of years that much of health inequality relates to relative wealth.

“A problem could arise if people see that there are more cases of lung cancer in cities such as Liverpool or Manchester and then assume that it’s because doctors and the health service are not good enough there, whereas in reality it is likely to reflect patterns of lifestyle.”

For more information, please see Cancer Research UK, The Independent or BBC News Online.

Holly Lovering
22nd August 2013

 

On the pulse 15 Aug 2013

  • Cancerkin’s Lymphoedema Clinic is looking for volunteers
  • Look Good…Feel Better!
  • Study has produced the first detailed map of genetic faults that cause cancer

Cancerkin’s Lymphoedema Clinic is looking for volunteers
Cancerkin is looking for volunteers to work in its Lymphoedema Clinic. The work our volunteers do is essential in helping patients suffering from lymphoedema to receive treatment. So, if you are interested or know someone who is, please do get in touch.

Volunteers help the Lymphoedema Therapists, who provide the treatment, with supportive and administrative tasks. They support patients by greeting them on arrival and helping them prepare for examination and treatment and they do the administrative work essential to the running of the clinic. Volunteers should be able to demonstrate empathy, sensitivity and understand patients’ anxieties. They must be able to work in a calm and efficient manner. Experience of admin work and knowledge of IT would be desirable but training will be given. Volunteers’ working hours are 0830 to 1330 but frequency of work is flexible and can vary from once a week to once a month.

A detailed job description can be found on our website. If you are interested in applying please either email info@cancerkin.org.uk or write to Victoria Todd saying why you would like to volunteer and attaching a CV.  Applicants should be prepared to attend for interview and to provide references from their GP and one other referee. The deadline for applications is 6 September 2013.

Look Good…Feel Better!
The fabulous team from Look Good, Feel Better will join us on Tuesday 20th August 2013. Their excellent make-up and skin care workshop teaches everyone how to expertly apply make-up, with beauty therapists on hand to teach and answer any skin and face related questions you may have. Everyone who attends also gets to take away a free make-up pack containing beauty products from well-known brands so they can recreate their looks at home! The sessions are always light-hearted with lots of laughter and Cancerkin provides tea and biscuits for all the participants.

To book your place, or for more information, please contact Reema on 020 7830 2323 or email r.ved@cancerkin.org.uk. Please note, however, the workshop is open only to those women who have not previously attended a Look Good…Feel Better session.

Study has produced the first detailed map of genetic faults that cause cancer
Researchers at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge have published the first detailed genetic map of at least twenty different processes at work on the DNA of different types of cancer.

Most cancers are thought to develop due to mutations in DNA, which go unrepaired and build up over a person’s lifetime. However, while we know a great deal about environmental and lifestyle factors that cause cancer on a population level, being able to say for certain what’s ‘caused’ a particular patient’s cancer is almost always impossible, as, in almost every case, a cancer’s underlying genetic damage has many sources.

The main source of this genetic damage is ‘natural’ damage that occurs with ageing. However, some may be due carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke and ultraviolet light, or from faulty maintenance processes in the cells.

Previous work has shown that different processes that change and damage DNA leave behind specific genetic ‘fingerprints’, and in recent years researchers have found genetic signatures from several different carcinogens or causes of mutation.

This study, published Nature, pulled together data from more than 7,000 tumour samples, representing 30 common types of cancer, including breast, lung and brain tumours. They then used analytical software to identify patterns in the data, and found more than 20 distinct “genetic signatures”, some common to all types of cancer and others specific to just a few types. All of the cancers had at least two signatures, while some, such as liver cancer, had as many as six. However, the scientists were only able to deduce the cause of eleven of the signatures.

One of the known signatures was clearly linked to ageing; it became more common the older the patient was and was found in all types of cancer and 60 per cent of the samples overall. As age is the biggest risk factor for cancer, this was entirely expected. Another signature, found in certain breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancers, showed exactly the genetic damage likely to be caused when the BRCA 1 and 2 are faulty.

Other signatures were found relating to UV and tobacco damage, and some which look like the result of faulty biological processes.

This research therefore increases our understanding of the processes behind different cancers, allowing researchers to develop newer ways to prevent and treat the disease.

Nic Jones, chief scientist at Cancer Research UK, said: “We know that environmental factors like smoking and overexposure to UV rays can cause faults in DNA which can lead to cancer, but for many cancers we don’t know what triggers the faults … The genetic fingerprints identified in this fascinating and important study identify several new processes driving the development of cancer. Understanding what’s causing them could be an extremely important way to get to the bottom of how cancer develops in the first place, and this will lead to new ways to prevent and treat the disease.”

For more information, please see Cancer Research UK or the Guardian.

On the pulse 8th August 2013

  • Cancerkin opens in Plaistow
  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended a new test for surgeons to use during operations to see if a patient’s breast cancer has spread

Cancerkin opens in Plaistow
Cancerkin opened in Plaistow on 1st August! Twenty seven people came last Thursday to our opening complementary therapy day at the Given-Wilson Institute in Plaistow. It was a boiling hot day – at one point the temperature outside was 33C. But one of the many delightful aspects of the Given-Wilson Institute building is that its main areas are light and cool so patients could wait and chat in comfort and a yoga class was held without too much sweat. But above all, Roger Walmsley, a Trustee of the Institute, had arranged for separate individual therapy rooms to be created where our therapists Rain Webster and Saraya Afolabi provided sessions of reiki and reflexology respectively.

We were especially pleased that two senior breast care nurses, Sally Shanley and Gillian Constance plus two members of the patient information unit from Newham University Hospital came to our opening. They were all delighted to see what we provided for their patients and their support was much appreciated by everyone.

We are very grateful to the Given-Wilson Institute and all those who contributed to Cancerkin’s first day in Plaistow.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended a new test for surgeons to use during operations to see if a patient’s breast cancer has spread
The NICE has recommended the RD-100i OSNA system, produced by Sysmex UK, for women with early stage invasive breast cancer.

Currently, women diagnosed with early stage invasive breast cancer undergo a biopsy of their lymph nodes while in surgery to remove tumours in the breast. Patients then have to wait while the cells are analysed in a lab, to discover whether their breast cancer has spread. If it has, the patient then needs a second surgery to remove their lymph nodes. The results from this biopsy can take up to 15 working days to come back.

In this new procedure, the lymph node cell samples are tested during the initial surgery. Therefore, if the cancer is found to have spread, the lymph nodes can be removed in the same operation. This means patients will be spared an anxious wait for results and any patient whose cancer has spread will be able to have fewer operations. Post-operative treatments such as chemotherapy can be started more quickly.

This new test also analyses the new whole lymph node, reducing the chance that tiny particles of cancer are missed.

Professor Carole Longson, NICE health technology evaluation centre director, said: “For people with breast cancer and their families, waiting to hear if the disease has spread can cause significant distress and anxiety.

“If the test is positive, and a second operation is needed to remove more of the axillary lymph nodes, the second operation can be technically more difficult and result in a higher risk of complication.

“The committee heard from a patient expert that the option of not having to have a second operation was an important consideration for patients.

“The committee also considered that the accuracy of histopathology may vary depending on the number and size of the lymph node sections examined.

“The committee therefore concluded that analysis of sentinel lymph nodes using the RD-100i OSNA system during operations had considerable advantages over traditional histopathology testing and had the potential to reduce both clinical complications and patient anxiety and distress.”

Dr Richard Francis, Head of Research for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, says: “This faster testing process is great news as it means that up to 11,000 women a year will not have to go through a second surgical procedure. Any operation carries risk so removing the need for any additional surgery, as well as the anxiety that can be caused whilst waiting for results, is far better for patients and their families. Additionally, this faster process will free up resources and surgeons’ time, which will benefit both the NHS and patients.”

For more information, please see the Telegraph or Breakthrough Breast Cancer.