Evidence
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Delaying chemotherapy after breast cancer surgery may reduce survival chances

Delaying chemotherapy after breast cancer surgery may slightly decrease a woman’s chances of survival. A review found about a 5% increase in the relative risk of death. Many women are offered chemotherapy soon after breast cancer surgery, called adjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is usually started after the surgical wounds have healed but the effect of any delay to ...

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Whole brain radiotherapy provides little benefit for lung cancer that has spread

Radiotherapy to the whole brain makes little difference to people with the commonest type of lung cancer that has spread to the brain and cannot be operated on. This mainly UK-based trial found no difference in overall survival and quality of life among people who had whole brain radiotherapy plus usual supportive care compared with ...

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Bone-targeting drugs improve quality of life, but not survival in prostate cancer that has spread to bone

The drug zoledronic acid delayed the onset of bone complications by two months in men with prostate cancer that had spread to the bone. Though it did not increase overall survival, it improved quality of life by reducing important complications such as fractures and spinal cord compression. The radioactive drug strontium-89 was also tested and ...

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Large ten-year trial on treatment of localised prostate cancer will aid management decisions

New, long-term research indicates that active monitoring, with prompt treatment if needed, may be a better option than radical surgery or radiotherapy for many men who have prostate cancer if it’s confined to the prostate gland. In the ProtecT trial, after an average of ten years, few men died of prostate cancer and there was ...

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New technique for repairing the bowel inside the body is safe

After removal of a section of cancerous bowel the ends need to be stitched back together. In endoscopic (keyhole) surgery this is usually done by pulling both ends out through a small hole in the skin and stitching them outside the body, before pushing the joined bowel back inside. This is called extracorporeal anastamosis. Alternatively ...

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A scan may help decide if surgery is required as follow-on treatment for head and neck cancer

People with head and neck cancer in the UK usually receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed by surgery. Using a scan to assess cancer status after this first line chemoradiotherapy and only suggesting surgery to those with a clear indication led to similar survival rates, complications and fewer operations compared with planned cancer surgery for everyone. ...

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Chemotherapy for people with recurrent stomach and oesophageal cancers can prolong survival by two to three months

This meta-analysis provides high quality evidence that second-line chemotherapy with supportive care can boost survival by about two months. In the three trials included, two types of chemotherapy were investigated for people with recurrent gastric cancers and compared to supportive care alone. Not all patients benefited from chemotherapy – over a third did not live ...

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Blood tests alone are not sufficient for detecting recurrent bowel cancer

The carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) blood test – part of the usual approach for monitoring for bowel cancer– is not sensitive or specific enough to depend on alone for detecting recurrence. This new Cochrane review added more detail to existing evidence about the low sensitivity and specificity of CEA, a test which has been available in ...

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