On the pulse 30 Jan 2014

  • Look Good Feel Better
  • Yoga shown to improve sleep and reduce inflammation after treatment for breast cancer


Look Good Feel Better

On Tuesday 18th February 2014, we are once again holding the fabulous Look Good Feel Better Workshop, from 2.00pm until 4.00pm. During the session, trained Look Good Feel Better beauty volunteers share their make-up tips, as well as demonstrating techniques for minimising treatment side-effects such as skin changes, eyebrow and eyelash loss. On top of this, every woman who attends can take home a free make-up pack containing many beauty products from top cosmetic brands.

Please contact Reema on r.ved@cancerkin.org.uk or 0207 830 2323 for more information or to book your place. Please note that the session is only open to those women who have not attended a previously.

Yoga shown to improve sleep and reduce inflammation after treatment for breast cancer

A recent trial carried out at Ohio State University has found that yoga can alleviate the side effects of breast cancer treatment. This included reducing the inflammation that often accompanies the treatment, as well as diminishing feelings of fatigue and improving sleep.

Sometimes, the effects of treatment can have a greater impact on a patient’s physical and emotional state than the cancer itself. Some of the most common cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, involve destroying the body’s cells, both cancerous and healthy. While the efficiency and accuracy of these treatments has greatly improved, patients still often experience a lot of long-lasting pain and discomfort as a result.

Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, author of the study, explained the effects of cancer treatment on patients: “One of the problems they face is a real reduction in cardiorespiratory fitness.  The treatment is so debilitating and they are so tired, and the less you do physically, the less you’re able to do.  It’s a downward spiral.”

Kiecolt-Glaser studied 200 women aged between 27 and 76 who had recently undergone either surgery or radiotherapy for breast cancer.  None had practiced yoga before. The women were split into two groups: half the women received two 90-minute yoga sessions each week for twelve weeks (and were also encouraged to practice at home) while the rest was asked to refrain from doing any yoga. The participants kept a weekly record of the total time they spent practicing yoga.

The women completed questionnaires at the beginning of the study, after the 12 weeks of sessions and after a further three months.  The researchers found that that immediately after the yoga classes ended, the group that had practised yoga had on average a 41% reduction in fatigue compared to the women who had not practised yoga, and also had average lower levels of inflammation. Further analysis showed that the yoga group also had significantly improved sleep. After six months, fatigue levels were 57% lower in the group who had been practising yoga and inflammation had decreased between 13% and 20% compared to the control group. The study also found that the more yoga a woman did, the greater the increase in her energy levels.

Professior Kiecolt-Glaser believes that the most beneficial aspect of yoga was the breathing and mediation practise. She said: “We think improved sleep could be part of the mechanism of what we were seeing.  When women were sleeping better, inflammation could have been lowered by that.  Reducing fatigue enables women to engage in other activities over time.  So yoga may have offered a variety of benefits in addition to the yoga exercises themselves.”

For more information, please visit the Evening Standard, Daily Mail Online or Medical News Today.

Cancerkin offers weekly yoga sessions every Friday between 2.00pm and 3.00pm at our centre in the Royal Free Hospital, and various sessions in our East London venues. For more information, please contact Reema (on r.ved@cancerkin.org.uk) for North London sessions and Anisah (on a.undre@cancerkin.org.uk) for East London sessions.

On the pulse 23 January 2014

  • Annual Lecture: Professor Justin Stebbing, “Breast Cancer: Where we were then and where we are now”
  • Study shows test could prevent unnecessary invasive breast cancer treatment


Annual Lecture: Professor Justin Stebbing, “Breast Cancer: Where we were then and where we are now”

Cancerkin’s annual lecture will take place on Wednesday 12th March 2014. . This year, the lecture will be given by Professor Justin Stebbing MD MA FRCP FRCPath PhD, Professor of Cancer Medicine and Medical Oncology at Imperial College and Imperial College NHS Trust, whose work focuses on new therapies in cancer and the systematic management of patients with solid malignancies. For more information on the talk, please visit our website, where you can view his abstract.

The lecture will take place in the Atrium of the Royal Free Hospital and will begin at 6.30pm, with a drinks reception from 5.45pm. Drinks and nibbles will also be served after the talk. Places are free; to reserve yours, please contact Holly, either on h.lovering@cancerkin.org.uk or 020 7830 2323. Spaces are limited, however, so please confirm your attendance by Friday 28th February 2014.

Study shows test could prevent unnecessary invasive breast cancer treatment

Scientists at Queen Mary University of London’s Barts Cancer Institute are developing a test to tell doctors which cases of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) are most likely to develop into early ‘invasive’ cancer.

Approximately 4,800 cases of DCIS are diagnosed each year in the UK. DCIS is a condition where non-invasive cancerous cells are contained within the milk ducts of the breasts. Roughly half of these cases will develop into invasive breast cancer. Until now, however, there has been no reliable way to know which ones will do so, as in many cases cancerous cells present in a patient’s breast might disappear or remain localised and relatively harmless. Currently, all women diagnosed with DCIS are offered treatment and it is their decision whether or not to have it. This can cause significant physical and emotional distress for the patient.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, considered 583 breast tissues samples from normal breasts and those with DCIS and found that a molecule, alpha v beta 6 (αvβ6), can indicate which cases of DCIS are most likely to develop into invasive breast cancer. The scientists found there was a link between levels of αvβ6 in the cells which form part of the milk duct wall and whether breast tissue was normal, had DCIS or had progressed to invasive breast cancer. The molecule was almost completely absent in cells from normal tissues, while 52% of DCIS cases had αvβ6 and nearly all DCIS cases which had started to become invasive breast cancer had αvβ6 present.

The researchers then considered a further 104 cases of DCIS, which they compared to long-term follow-up data and found that the level of αvβ6 were correlated with DCIS reoccurring or progressing. This was independent of the grade and size of the DCIS.

Professor Louise Jones, corresponding author on the study said, “We are confident these results will be validated in further studies and from there we don’t envisage any barriers to this research resulting in the development of a routine test which could take place in the clinic. This will be a huge step forward in how we treat women with DCIS.

“Our ultimate goal is that women diagnosed with DCIS without αvβ6 could be offered active monitoring, saving them from potentially unnecessary surgery and radiotherapy.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Campaign said, “This research could be key to the hunt to develop a life-changing reliable prognostic test for women with DCIS. Such a test would mean women with DCIS would finally be able to make informed decisions about their treatment. They would no longer face the agonising choice between risking their breast cancer becoming invasive or facing treatment without knowing whether their DCIS will become life-threatening or not.

For information, please visit Breast Cancer Campaign or the Guardian website.

Holly Lovering                                                                                                                    24 January 2014


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For further information on breast cancer please visit us at www.cancerkin.org.uk

Holly Lovering

Events and Development Manager

The Cancerkin Centre

Royal Free Hospital

Pond Street

London NW3 2QG


T: 020 7830 2323

F: 020 7830 2324

E: h.lovering@cancerkin.org.uk


On the pulse 16 January 2014

  • Progress made in targeted radiotherapy
  • US stats report shows decrease in death rates, but continued higher rates for black males


Progress made in targeted radiotherapy

According to work published on the website of the journal Nature, progress is being made in the area of targeted radiotherapy.  Improving the accuracy of radiotherapy can allow a lower dose to be administered, therefore causing less harm to the healthy, non-cancerous tissue of the patient.

French researchers from the Laboratoire de Chimie Physique – Matière et Rayonnement are working alongside American and German scientists to learn more about the behaviour of molecules when they are subjected to radiation.  In doing so, they have discovered that X-ray radiation can be administered in a precise and targeted manner, and can bring about a process called “interatomic Coloumbic decay”.  This process then causes damage to the DNA of cells.  In theory, the advantage of using X-ray radiation is that very specific molecules can be targeted by ‘tagging’ particular cancerous cells before treatment, so that only the DNA of cancerous cells will be harmed.

Currently, these results have only been found with respect to small molecules, only made up of a few atoms.  The next stage of research is to test molecules made up of a few hundred or thousand atoms.  From there, they hope to develop the process to be able to apply it to cancerous cells in living tissue, thereby allowing patients to have far less damaging, but equally effective, cancer treatment.

For more information, please see the Medical News Today website.

US stats report shows decrease in death rates, but continued higher rates for black males

The American Cancer Society releases an annual report on the incidence of, and deaths caused by, cancer.  According to the most recent report, there will be 1,665,540 new cases of cancer in the US in 2014, and 585,720 deaths.  This equates to around 1,600 deaths per day in the US.

Among women, the three most common types of cancer will be breast, lung and colon.  Together, these three will account for about half of all cases of cancer in women, and breast cancer alone will make up about 29% of all new cancers.

A 5-year report of 2006-2010 showed that the incidence rate of cancer in women has remained fairly constant, though the rate of cancer-related deaths has dropped by 1.4% per year.  Over the last two decades, cancer-related deaths have dropped by about 20% across both sexes.  This equates to about 1,340,400 fewer deaths over the last 20 years.

A surprising result is that, although the greatest reduction in death rates was found among black males, the rate continues to be the highest among this group.

John R. Seffrin, PhD, the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Institute commented on the report: “The progress we are seeing is good, even remarkable, but we can do even better.”

For more, please see the Science Daily website.