On the pulse 24 April 2014


  • Hampstead Heath Walk 2014
  • Study identifies  first genetic variant which increases the risk of invasive lobular carcinoma

Hampstead Heath Walk

The first Cancerkin Hampstead Heath Walk is now only six weeks away (on Sunday 8th June 2014) and we are all working hard to ensure the day will be a success.  Lots of our supporters have already signed up or volunteered to be marshals and we would love you come along and join in as well.


The walk follows a beautiful route across the Heath, and you can chose to walk, jog or run either a 5km or 10km trail. The walk begins at 10.30am (registration opens at 9.15am) and it promises to be a day of fun and laughter. To enter, all you need to do is fill out an entry form, which can be found on our website.


If you don’t want to take part in the walk, but would still like to be involved, please do to volunteer to help on the day. Our marshals and other volunteers play a key role in ensuring the day is a success and any support you can offer is so appreciated.


If you have any questions about either taking part in or volunteering for the walk, please contact me. I can be reached either on h.lovering@cancerkin.org.uk or 0207 830 2323 and am happy to answer any queries you may have.


Study has identified the first genetic variant which increases the risk of invasive lobular carcinoma
Research published in PLOS Genetics has identified the first genetic variant specifically associated with invasive lobular carcinoma, a breast cancer sub-type.

Invasive lobular carcinoma accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all breast cancer cases. It develops in the lobes of the breast that produce milk and can be difficult to diagnose as the cancer does not always form a definite lump and so may not be seen on a mammogram. Because of this, it is often diagnosed at a later stage when it is more difficult to treat.

This study, co-led by the Institute of Cancer Research, London, King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London was the largest ever to consider this particular breast cancer sub-type. Involving over 100 research institutions, it compared the DNA of over 6,500 women with invasive lobular cancer with more than 35,000 women without the disease.

They found that women with a particular genetic variant, called rs11977670, had a 13 percent higher chance of developing invasive lobular cancer than women without the variant. This discovery, in addition to other markers, could enable genetic screening tools to be developed to assess a woman’s risk of invasive lobular cancer. It also gave new insights into the genetic causes of the disease as well as lobular carcinoma in situ, a precursor to cancer.

In addition to finding a new genetic variant, the scientists evaluated 75 genetic variants previously linked with increased breast cancer risk. They found that most of these were specifically associated with the risk of invasive lobular cancer as well as overall breast cancer risk. The study also showed for the first time that genetic factors that increase the risk of invasive breast cancer can also predispose to lobular carcinoma in situ.

Study co-author Dr Elinor Sawyer said: “A diagnosis of breast cancer can be devastating, particularly if it is not picked up early and the cancer is at a stage when it may be more difficult to treat. This can be the case for lobular breast cancers as they are difficult to see on mammograms. By identifying genetic factors that result in an increased risk of lobular cancer we hope in the future to be able to find better ways of assessing the risk of developing these cancers, so different screening tests can be offered to those at high risk, as well as finding new treatments for lobular cancer.”

Study co-leader Professor Montserrat Garcia-Closas said: “Our study is the first to link a genetic variant specifically with a higher risk of invasive lobular carcinoma, which accounts for around 10 to 15 per cent of all cases. It also finds that more than 50 previously discovered variants specifically increase the risk of lobular tumours, as well as making breast cancer overall more likely.

“Understanding the genetic factors at work in lobular cancers could be particularly important, because they are often missed by mammography because of their unusual growth patterns. In the future, we hope that improving our knowledge of the genes involved in lobular carcinoma could improve our ability to prevent and treat it.”

For more information please visit Breast Cancer Campaign.

Holly Lovering                                                                                                   24 April 2014

On the pulse 10 April 2014

  • Hampstead Heath Walk 2014
  • Breast cancer survival rates in the UK have increased dramatically
  • Radiotherapy after mastectomy could benefit women whose cancer has spread to just a few lymph nodes

Hampstead Heath Walk 2014
Thanks to a lot of help from some of our fantastic volunteers, all the invitations for this year’s walk have now been sent out. However, if you just can’t wait to sign up, please visit our website where you can find more information and download this year’s entry form.

The Hampstead Heath Walk will take place on Sunday 8th June 2014, and there is both a 5km and 10km option, to enable everyone to take part. The route really takes advantage of all the beauty the Heath has to offer as it winds through fields and woodlands – and also a trip up Parliament Hill, which has one of the best views of London (weather permitting!).

We cannot put on this walk without help. Our marshals are an integral part of the day – guiding our walkers and cheering them on as they go past! As well as playing a major part in the success of the walk, all our marshals receive free Cancerkin t-shirts and food and drink throughout the day. If anyone would like to volunteer to be a marshal for this year’s walk, or would just like more information on exactly what marshalling entails, please contact me on h.lovering@cancerkin.og.uk or 0207 830 2323.

We look forward to seeing you all in June!

Breast cancer survival rates in the UK have increased dramatically
A study presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference has shown that breast cancer survival rates are increasing more quickly in Britain that in any other European country.

The research compared 27 European countries, from 1989 to 2010. Over this period, the breast cancer mortality rate in England and Wales fell from 41.9% to 25.4%, a reduction of 41%. This was the most dramatic decrease recorded. However, as England and Wales had the highest mortality rates when the study began, its position is still only 18th out of the 27 countries.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, said: “Even though globally more breast cancer cases are being diagnosed, we do know that thanks to research and innovations in treatment, mortality rates are falling in the UK and it is reassuring to see this confirmed in these results.”

The study also found that reductions in mortality from breast cancer were greatest in women of less than 50 years of age and smallest in women aged 70 and over. Overall, the countries with the lowest mortality rates were Spain, Norway, Sweden and Portugal, which all had mortality rates below 20%.

Professor Philippe Autier, from the International Prevention Research Institute, Lyon, France, who spoke at the Conference said: “Our study shows the value of using mortality rates to measure success in controlling cancer. Although survival rates can also be used for this purpose, they tend to cloud the true picture by being influenced by trends in cancer incidence.

“In countries where there is much screening and thus where many small non-life-threatening breast cancers are found, survival statistics will also be better than in countries where screening is less common, not because of differences in breast cancer mortality, but because of differences in the incidence of small screen-detected cancers.”

For more information, please the Telegraph and the European CanCer Organisation. 

Radiotherapy after mastectomy could benefit women whose cancer has spread to just a few lymph nodes
A study published in the Lancet has concluded that women whose breast cancer has spread to just a few lymph nodes under the arm could benefit from radiotherapy after mastectomy.

While NHS guidelines say that women should be offered radiotherapy if their cancer has spread to four or more lymph nodes, this study found that giving radiotherapy to women whose cancer had only spread to one, two or three lymph nodes may improve their survival and also help prevent reoccurrences.

The study considered 3,786 women who had undergone mastectomy and surgical removal of under-arm lymph nodes. Some of these women had then received radiotherapy as well.

In women whose cancer had spread to between one and three lymph nodes, radiotherapy reduced the rate of reoccurrence by 32% while the death rate was reduced by 20%. In real figures, this meant that radiotherapy led to nearly 12 fewer breast cancer reoccurrences per 100 women after 10 years and eight fewer deaths per 100 women after 20 years.  These figures were similar regardless of having one, two or three affected lymph nodes.

For women with four or more affected lymph nodes, radiotherapy treatment reduced reoccurrence by 21% and deaths by 13%.

Dr Paul McGale, senior statistician at the Clinical; Trail Service in Oxford and study author, said: “This is important because most women today receive these therapies. Our results suggest that women being treated today are likely also to benefit from radiotherapy if they have any positive lymph nodes.”

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head information nurse, said: “This study suggests that more women than previously thought could potentially benefit from radiotherapy following a mastectomy.

“Radiotherapy is becoming more sophisticated, and 40 per cent of cancer patients who are cured now receive it as part of their treatment.”

For more information, please see Cancer Research UK.