- Registration is open for the Hampstead Heath Walk 2015
- Dismissal of possible cancer symptoms could be a contributing factor to delayed diagnosis
- ‘Unboiling’ an egg is a breakthrough that could have major benefits for cancer research
Registration open for the Hampstead Heath Walk 2015
Registration is now open for this year’s annual walk, which will take place on Hampstead Heath on Sunday 7 June 2015. For more information, or to book your place, simply download the registration form on our website.
We look forward to seeing you in June.
Dismissal of possible cancer symptoms could be a contributing factor to delayed diagnosis A study conducted by Cancer Research UK has found a tendency for people to dismiss ‘red flag’ cancer symptoms as trivial because they fear wasting a doctor’s time, while half of those aged over 50 may dismiss symptoms as signs of ageing. These findings could be a significant contributor to delayed diagnoses in the UK.
Researchers determined whether people who experience possible cancer symptoms respond by seeking medical advice or opting not to do so. Volunteers were asked to complete a health survey, designed specifically to omit any mention of cancer, which questioned them on whether they had experience any of the 17 body changes detailed in the questionnaire in recent months. Of the 17 symptoms listed, 10 ‘red flag’ symptoms were incorporated such as difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss and persistent unexplained pain.
Approximately 1700 people, aged over 50 years from three London GP practices participated in the study, with more than 900 respondents reporting having at least one alarm symptom within three months. Interviews were then conducted with almost 50 of those who took in the study, finding that 45% of the group had not seen their GP about their symptoms.
Senior research fellow at University College London, Dr Katriina Whitaker, commented on these findings, “Many of the people we interviewed had red flag symptoms but felt that these were trivial and didn’t need medical attention, particularly if they were painless or intermittent. Others felt that they shouldn’t make a fuss or waste valuable NHS resources. However, some people made the decision to get symptoms checked out after seeing a cancer awareness campaign or being encouraged to do so by family or friends – this seemed to almost legitimise their symptoms as important.”
This research, published in the British Journal of General Practice, came as a new NHS TV and radio campaign was launched by Public Health England, aimed to encourage people to visit their doctor about health complaints which may seem trivial, but could be a life-saving indicator of cancer.
It is estimated almost 1000 lives could be saved in England every year if more cases are detected sooner, helping survival rates to match the best in Europe.
Dr Richard Roope, Cancer Research UK’s GP expert, says: “The advice we give is: if in doubt, check it out – this would not be wasting your GP’s time. Often your symptoms won’t be caused by cancer, but if they are, the quicker the diagnosis, the better the outcome. Seeking prompt advice from your GP about symptoms, either on the phone or during an appointment, could be a life-saver, whatever your age. And the good news is that more than half of all patients diagnosed with cancer now survive for more than 10 years.”
For more information please see British Journal of General Practice, Cancer Research UK and the Telegraph.
Ten “red flag” symptoms to see your GP about, in case they mean cancer:
- Persistent cough or hoarseness – could mean lung cancer.
- Change in the appearance of a mole – can mean skin cancer
- Persistent change in bowel habits – could mean bowel cancer
- A sore that does not heal – depends where; a mouth ulcer can mean mouth cancer
- Persistent difficulty swallowing – can mean oesophageal cancer
- Unexplained weight loss – can mean several types of cancer
- Persistent change in bladder habits – could mean bladder cancer, and in mean could mean prostate cancer
- Unexplained lump – could denote many types of cancer, depending where
- Persistent unexplained pain – depending where, can mean several types of cancer
- Unexplained bleeding – depends where, could mean bowel cancer, cervical cancer or vulval cancer
Source: Cancer Research UK
‘Unboiling’ an egg is a breakthrough that could have major benefits for cancer research An international team of researchers have developed a way to uncook a hen’s egg – findings which could help to significantly improve cost efficiency for industries ranging from cheese production to cancer research.
After boiling an egg for twenty minutes, scientists worked to reverse the state of one of the key protein components within the egg white. This breakthrough will help to combat the difficulties that arise when proteins ‘misfold’. Currently, scientists are forced to use time-consuming methods to untangle these misfolded proteins or expensive preventative measures to avoid the problem altogether.
The experiment involves immersing the cooked egg white component in a urea substance to revert it back into the liquid state and then using a vortex fluid device allowing the tangled proteins to gently pull apart and reform their correct structure.
This innovative process takes places in minutes, compared to days using conventional techniques, and is inexpensive in contrast to current production methods. Many aspects of cancer research could see significant cost savings using this technique. For example, cancer antibodies made for research purposes are derived from expensive hamster ovary cells- bought because they do not show the same propensity to misfold.
Estimates have suggested cancer research, the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture and many other industries could also save much of the $160 billion they spend on proteins each year.
For more information please see UCI News and The Guardian.