Hundreds of men in the UK are trialling a new prostate cancer screening scan to see if it could eventually be offered on the NHS. Right now, there is no routine prostate cancer screening performed in the UK. Blood tests and biopsies are the most reliable ways to determine if a man has prostate cancer. The new test involves a non-invasive MRI scan that checks the inside of the body for any abnormal growths. It will be a few years yet before we know if the new scan is better than the current blood tests, scientists say, but NHS England is, nevertheless, hailing the breakthrough as a “potentially exciting development”. In the UK alone, prostate cancer claims the lives of around 11,800 men every year. It usually develops slowly, so there are often no associated signs or symptoms for many years. Prostate cancer treatment depends on its development. Doctors may suggest to monitor the situation first, while surgery and radiotherapy will be advised for others. Speaking about the new test, Karen Stalbow, from Prostate Cancer UK, said: “This trial could provide an exciting step towards our ambition for a national screening programme that enables men to get the early prostate cancer diagnosis that can save more lives.”
A US study suggests that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is better than specialist doctors at identifying lung cancer. It’s a finding that could revolutionize cancer screening in the future, potentially allowing tumors to be found at an earlier stage and improving treatment outcomes. According to the study - which was conducted by researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois and the Google Health Research Group – Artificial Intelligence was able to outperform six specialist cancer doctors when it came to identifying cancer from a single CT scan. When multiple CT scans were used, the AI and the doctors were equally effective. Prior to the tests, the AI was trained with 42,290 CT lung scans from nearly 15,000 patients. It was not told what to look for in a CT scan, merely which patients went on to develop cancer and which didn’t. The results of the study, published in Nature Medicine, show that AI can not only boost cancer detection by 5%, but can also reduce false-positives by 11%. Speaking about the findings of the research, Dr Mozziyar Etemadi, from Northwestern University, said: “Not only can we better diagnose someone with cancer, we can also say if someone doesn't have cancer, potentially saving them from an invasive, costly, and risky lung biopsy.”
Overweight or obese women may not detect cancerous breast lumps until they are much larger and more difficult to treat, a Swedish study has found. Researchers from the Karolinksa Institute studied more than 2,000 women who developed breast cancer between 2001 and 2008, all of who had been receiving mammograms every 18 months to two years, as is standard in Sweden. They found that women with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) were more likely to have a larger tumour when detected than women who were slimmer. Lead author of the study, Fredrik Strand, said this was either because the tumours were harder to detect because overweight women have larger breasts or because their tumours grew faster. Women who are overweight are already at greater risk of developing breast cancer and, unfortunately, larger tumours carry a worse prognosis. Therefore, these women may need more frequent mammograms to help spot tumours early, say the researchers. Women who are judged to be at greater risk of developing breast cancer – such as those with a family history – are already offered more frequent screening. Speaking about the findings of the study, Strand said: “Our study suggests that when a clinician presents the pros and cons of breast cancer screening to the patient, having high BMI should be an important 'pro' argument”.
The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month, which is why we have decided to do a short piece on the disease. According to American Cancer Society research, cervical cancer used to be the number one cause of cancer death in the United States for women. However, thanks to increased awareness and regular screening campaigns, the number of deaths from cervical cancer has dropped by more than 50% over the past 30 years. But despite all the good work that’s been done so far to combat the disease, some 12,900 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed in the US alone last year and over 4,000 women died because of the disease, which suggests that there is possibly more that could still be done to tackle this particular form of cancer. Cervical cancer is most common in women under the age of 50, yet very rarely occurs in women under the age of 20. Certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) cause almost all cases of cervical cancer and 40% of these HPVs can be transmitted during sexual intercourse. Two specific types – HPV-16 and HPV-18 – are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases globally. Other risks factors for cervical cancer include: having a family history of the disease; a weakened immune system; long-term mental stress; and smoking. Taking contraceptive pills has also been found to increase a woman’s risk of cervical cancer. The importance of regular cervical cancer screening is highlighted by the fact that the disease presents very few symptoms in its early stages. Only when it becomes invasive do more noticeable symptoms start to occur, such as abnormal bleeding between periods and after sexual intercourse; heavy or prolonged periods; unusual vaginal discharge; and/or pain during sex. Official guidance from the US Preventative Services Task Force (UPSTF) says that women aged between 21 and 65 years old should undergo a Pap test every three years. So if you’re a woman you haven’t had a Pap test within the last three years, you should make an appointment with your appropriate medical physician as soon as possible. Photo via: http://www.cancerbox.org/cervical-cancer
Even if you feel absolutely fine and a picture of health, there are a number of routine medical tests that you should have later in life. In one of our previous posts we focussed on important medical tests for men and women over 40. Today’s post will look at specific guidelines for men aged over 40-years-old and should be considered in addition to the tests outlined in our aforementioned post above. Colon Cancer Screening Men aged under 50 do not necessarily need to undergo colon cancer screening unless there is a strong family history of the disease or if you have had inflammatory bowel disease in the past. If you are between 50 and 75, however, you should get routinely checked for colon cancer, which could involve a stool test every year or a colonoscopy every 10 years. Prostate Cancer Screening Most men should undergo prostate cancer screening when they reach the age of 50. However, men with a family history of the disease should consider prostate cancer checks earlier in life as a precaution. European-wide trials have shown that prostate cancer screening can reduce deaths from the disease by as much as 20%. Testicular Examination Examining your own testicles can identify abnormalities but the fact remains that most testicular lumps are not cancerous. However, if you do find any testicular lumps it is important to get them examined by a medical professional. Testicular cancer treatment is much more effective when started earlier, so consult medical advice if you find anything untoward.
If you’re a woman over the age of 40 you should undergo routine health check-ups, even if you aren’t exhibiting any symptoms or feeling unwell. Some of these tests will probably be new to you but they are ultimately important. The earlier that cancers and other conditions are detected, the greater chance of a full recovery. Therefore, the following screening tests for women should be carried out in addition to the ones outlined in our previous blog post. Cervical Cancer Screening Even though cervical cancer screening tests are regular occurrences for women of all ages, it is important that you continue them as you get older. During screening, a doctor or nurse will use a speculum to hold your vagina open and gently collect some cells from your cervix using a small brush. These cells are subsequently tested in a laboratory and if your sample is normal, you will be invited for another test every three years until you reach the age of 49, after which time the screening schedule is extended to every five years until you reach the age of 64. Breast Cancer Screening Depending on your medical history and country of residence, you will usually be invited for a mammogram between your 50th and 53rd birthday. However, you should get into the habit of regularly checking your breasts and seeking medical advice if you detect anything unusual. Breast cancer screening is designed to pick up any signs of breast cancer at an early stage, making any subsequent treatment more likely to be effective. During your screening you’ll be asked to undress to the waist and your breasts will be X-rayed two times. Bone Test Osteoporosis affects both men and women but it is more common in women over the age of 50. The primary symptom of the disease is a tendency for bones to fracture easily. A DEXA bone scan will help determine if you have Osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it in the future. The scan itself is a special type of X-ray that measures your bone mineral density – hence why it is also known as a bone density scan – and is quick and painless.
ONCOLOGY AND HAEMATOLOGY PERSONALISED CARE ADHERING TO THE LATEST CANCER TREATMENTS PROTOCOLS The medical team that supports you is made up of internationally renowned healthcare professionals from different areas of specialty. They work within the health care facility where you receive your treatment and in connection with your doctors. Your support is comprehensive and includes care and additional support you may need during and after your treatment (psychological, fatigue management, advice on your diet ...). Cancer Screening and Early Detection Screening is a process that aims to identify, at the earliest and in the absence of symptoms, lesions that may be cancerous or develop into cancer. The value of screening is that cancer can be detected earlier, patients can be provided with better care and the impact of treatment is reduced. For all requests, you must first send us a completed medical record via our secure platform as well as your medical history. This will allow us to put you in touch with the best French specialists who can discuss the treatments options suitable for you. Incomplete or unreadable medical documents will not be accepted. Choose an institution To be allowed to treat cancer, French healthcare institutions have to meet a number of conditions that are a guarantee that you to be well supported. You are free to choose the institution where you want to be treated.
Everybody dreads being told that they, or someone close to them, has cancer. Even with fantastic developments in detection and treatment it is still a very scary prospect and having the best medical care available can make people more at ease and able to fight the illness as best they can. In France healthcare institutions have to meet certain conditions that ensure any patient with cancer has the guarantee that they will be very well supported. If the institutions do not meet these conditions then they cannot provide cancer treatment. You can therefore be certain that is you have been given the diagnosis that no-one wants to hear that you have options to be able to access the healthcare system that has been ranked number one by the World Health Organisation. Travelling to France to receive treatment may seem like a unnecessary journey, however, the treatment you receive will be first rate and comprehensive. France Surgery offers a medical team to support you that is made up of internationally renowned healthcare professionals that will provide comprehensive care both during and after your treatment, which includes psychological support, fatigue management, dietary advice.