On the pulse 15 May 2015


  • Book onto next week’s Look Good Feel Better
  • New recommendations advise women with rare aggressive breast cancer should be offered less invasive surgery
  • Study shows exercising during chemotherapy reduces side effects

Book onto next week’s Look Good Feel Better
We still have a few spaces available for this month’s Look Good Feel Better Workshop, taking place on Tuesday (19 May 2015) from 2pm to 4pm. At the session, professional beauty therapists teach you how to apply your make-up, including advice on hiding some of the visible side-effects of cancer treatment. In addition, every woman who attends can take home a free make-up pack containing beauty products from well-known brands.

Only a few spaces remain, so please contact us on 0207 830 2323 or email info@cancerkin.org.uk if you would like to treat yourself to a pamper session. Please note that it is only open to those women who have not previously attended.

New guidelines recommend less invasive surgery for women with inflammatory breast cancer

Women who are affected by a rare, aggressive breast cancer subtype, known as Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) should be offered less invasive surgery according to new guidelines announced at the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symposium in Birmingham, UK. This subtype of breast cancer is known to have poor survival rates compared to more other forms of the disease, affecting 1000 of the 50,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer annually.

In IBC, the lymphatic drainage system within the breast, which works to remove waste products from the tissue cells, may become disrupted by the malignant tumour cells. This will eventually cause the vessels to become blocked leading to a build-up of the lymph (drainage fluid), causing the characteristic swelling and redness seen in this particular form of the disease.

Previous guidelines recommended a mastectomy as the best course of treatment for those affected by IBC, but research has led to a reform of the guidelines, which now encourage a localised, breast-conserving approach. If the cancer has not spread and the cells around the tumour are not malignant, there is little evidence to suggest that breast conservation is less effective than the mastectomy approach. These new guidelines also represent the first time UK clinicians and researchers collectively agree on a specific definition of IBC, offering clarity to healthcare professionals and patients, as well as helping to improve early intervention.  Experts believe these established guidelines will help to standardise diagnostic and treatment options and will bolster vital research in this field.

Dr Daniel Rea, the UK Inflammatory Breast Cancer Working Group clinical lead, commented on this development saying,  “These new guidelines represent a real step forward not only for clinicians but, more importantly, for women with inflammatory breast cancer in the UK. Treatment options that specifically target this rare breast cancer do not exist, and we need a concerted research effort to fix that. These new recommendations will allow some inflammatory breast cancer patients to be spared a more invasive mastectomy, and as treatments improve we hope that a breast conservation approach will become increasingly common.”

For more information on this article please see Breast Cancer Campaign and the British Journal of Cancer

Study shows exercising during chemotherapy reduces side effects
Findings from a recent Dutch study showed that women diagnosed with breast cancer who followed an exercise regime of either moderate or low intensity while undergoing chemotherapy experienced less fatigue, nausea and pain, as well as better physical fitness compared to those who did not exercise during treatment.

The trial involved 230 female participants who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and were scheduled to receive chemotherapy after surgery. Each woman was randomly assigned to one of three exercise groups: moderate to high-intensity, low intensity or a third group where the women were not encouraged to be active. The results after three weeks from the end of the chemotherapy period demonstrated the positive effects of exercise which enabled patients to better tolerate their cancer treatment.

“In the past, patients who received chemotherapy were advised to take it slow,” said Neil Aaronson of the Netherlands Cancer Institute who was the lead author of the study. “But actually, it is better for these patients to be as active as possible. Our study shows that even low intensity exercise has a positive effect on the side effects of chemotherapy. That is good news for those who really don’t feel like going to the gym. Small amounts of exercise are beneficial compared to being non-active”.

If you are interested in participating in an exercise programme tailored for woman affected by breast cancer Cancerkin are here to help. We provide a range of classes that vary from low intensity to more advanced, including Yoga, Pilates, Dance Yourself Happy and Can Exercise.

For more information on this article please see BreastCancer.org and Science Daily

If you would like to find out more about our fitness classes please see Cancerkin


On the pulse 8 May 2015

  • Cancerkin is recruiting for an Events and Development Manager
  • Scientists discover antibodies naturally developed to fight breast cancer
  • New website providing information on breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue launched

Cancerkin is recruiting for an Events and Development Manager                              We are recruiting for an Events and Development Manager to succeed Holly Lovering when she leaves us in June. If you know anyone who would be interested please encourage them to contact the CEO Victoria Todd on vtodd@cancerkin.org.uk  or phone 020 7830 2323. This is a key post for Cancerkin which depends entirely on fundraising to provide its services. It offers training and experience in fundraising, event organisation and management as well as marketing and media relations. The job description is on our website here.

Researchers develop natural antibodies to combat breast cancer                             Scripps Research Institute have conducted a new study that looks into how the human body may be able to fight cancer naturally. Antibody production (a protein molecule found in the blood that attacks bacteria, viruses and other ‘foreign’ substances that could be harmful to the body) in healthy people aged 80 years or over was explored in the research. These participants were shown to have immune systems that fought cancer naturally by creating specific antibodies that may help in developing new cancer therapies.

By screening the DNA (the molecule that contains genetic code) in blood samples, researchers were able to explore what enabled these older people, who had never been diagnosed with cancer, to live longer and healthier lives. The researchers discovered evidence of past victories against cancer. One of the findings was the discovery of antibodies linked to triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive subtype of the disease for which there is no targeted therapy. The lead author Brunhilde Felding said, “I thought that the human immune system is really our best defense against cancer. The ‘wellderly’ have had a healthy long life. My question was: Do these people have antibodies we should look into?” The investigator believes that the immune systems of the women who participated in the study enabled them to fight breast cancer during their lives without raising any visible signs. This was because their bodies were able to successfully attack the malignant cells by creating antibodies that neutralized them and even with the destruction of these harmful cells, the residual antibodies would still exist in the body ready to be used in the event of a resurgence.

Felding explained, “If there were aberrant cells at some point in a person’s body, but a noticeable cancer never developed, the immune system likely coped with those stray cells, and the antibody memory would still be there years later. Finding an effective therapy for these types of breast cancer [triple negative tumors] is one of our main goals in cancer research. Overall, the concept of exploring the immune system is very promising. The fact that the ‘wellderly’ blood donors are in their 80s means that their immune memories are very rich”.

For more information please see Breast Cancer News and University of California.

Website provides information for women with dense breast tissue affected by breast cancer                                                                                                         DenseBreast-info, a US based non-profit organization, have launched a website that aims to help women with dense breast tissue and their doctors who find results of mammograms difficult to interpret. Mammograms are the first step in breast cancer screening but research has shown that they detect only about half of cancers in women with dense breasts. Yet women with denser breast tissue are four to six times more likely to develop breast cancer than those with less dense tissue.

All breasts contain dense and fatty tissue with dense tissue largely made up of ducts, milk glands and fibrous tissues.  Each woman’s breast is unique and is made up of an individual combination of the two. However, research has shown black women are more likely to have dense breasts than white women, potentially increasing their risk of developing breast cancer. The difficulty of detecting breast cancer via mammograms further increases their risk. Younger women also tend to have denser breasts, with the amount of glandular tissue decreasing with age as it is replaced with fat.

Wendie Berg, the chief scientific advisor for the website and radiologist at Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine says, “We are hoping that through this website, women will understand that if they have dense breasts, additional screening beyond a mammogram may be recommended. We also want them to know that in most cases where extra testing is done, women are found not to have breast cancer. The website is meant to provide women and their care providers with the tools they need to choose the most appropriate screening, based on a woman’s breast density and other risk factors.”

Berg, who is also a cancer survivor, found her mammogram did not detect early-stage cancer because she had dense breasts. However, due to her family history and other associated risk factors, an MRI scan was performed which detected the disease. She says, ““Being a researcher and a radiologist gives you one perspective on dense breasts and being a woman with dense breasts gives you another. My experience with breast cancer gave me the full picture and compelled me to make women’s education about breast density a top priority.”

For more information please see Breast Cancer News , Medline Plus and DenseBreast-info

Cancerkin’s East London Newsletter, April 2015

A warm welcome to all our supporters! We hope this newsletter finds you well and our monthly update helps to keep you informed with the work underway at Cancerkin’s East London programme.

 Cancerkin’s Awareness Events                                                                                     The East London team has been busy this month raising breast awareness across the East London area.

In April, we have held five awareness events in the borough of Tower Hamlets: on 1 April, we visited Age UK Bow Belles group, on 17 April we visited the Marion Richardson Primary School’s Parent group and on 21 April we attended the Hackney Health and Housing event organised by Toynbee Hall and the Osnami Centre. We also organised talks at Sonali Gardens Asian Day Centre on 23 April and Stratford Library with Deafroots on 27 April.

Our work at these locations was met with great enthusiasm and positivity. Our diverse participants clearly valued information about breast awareness, self-checking your breasts regularly for any changes that could be a cause for concern and the mammogram screening process offered by the NHS. These were seen as the best approach to mitigate risks associated with breast cancer.

Many thanks to Louise Owen from Age UK, Dave Bernard from Toynbee Hall, Rumana Begum from Marion Richardson’s Parent Group, Mainhul Haq from Sonali Gardens Asian Day Centre and Angie Joseph from Deafroots for organising these engaging events.

Look Good Feel Better join Cancerkin at The Given-Wilson Institute, Plaistow         On 28 April Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) joined the East London team at the Given-Wilson Institute to host a workshop that helps women affected by cancer manage the effects treatment has on their appearance, as well providing an uplifting experience enjoyed by everybody. Eight women participated in the session, receiving a free gift of top brand products to continue applying the techniques they had learned. Feedback from the event highlighted the positive impact the session had for our patients and the beauty advisors were also praised with one participant describing their work as “great” and that they were “approachable and knowledgeable”.

We would like to say a big thank you to the Look Good Feel Better beauty advisors Linda Tullen, Jumoké Shoderu and Zoë Hunter for facilitating the workshop, to Lisa Curtis and Soraya Tawfik for arranging the session and to Look Good Feel Better for collaborating with us on this successful event.

The Cancerkin centre currently hosts a monthly LGFB workshop. If you would like to know more about how you can get involved please contact us by calling 0207 830 2323 or emailing info@cancerkin.org.uk.

You can also find out more about Look Good Feel Better by visiting their website.

Goodbye to Xanthe                                                                                                           The East London Programme manager, Xanthe Roantree has left Cancerkin. She has been with us since August 2014 and has been a valuable member of the team who will be missed by our patients. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours. Jacqui Moneke, the former East London Outreach & Development assistant will now be managing the East London Programme.