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Breast cancer tumour trigger that spreads disease discovered


10/06/2015

Scottish based researchers used mice engineered to develop breast cancer to better understand how it spreads from the breast tissue to the lung, where it can be fatal. They identified specific chemical signals and receptors on immune cells called macrophages that were involved in the spread. By genetically tampering with one of the signalling pathways, they were able to reduce some of the cancer spread, raising hopes that this might be a future treatment avenue.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is 1 in 8 for women in the UK. While survival rates are generally high compared to other cancers- almost 8 out of 10 women diagnosed will survive for at least 10 years after a diagnosis- there are still many deaths. This is mainly due to the breast cancer cells spreading to other parts of the body. Awareness of cancer is generally lower in BME groups than amongst the general population. Lower screening uptake and awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer lead to increased rates of late presentation and diagnosis among BME communities, negatively affecting health outcomes, so although Black British women are less likely to develop breast cancer, the mortality rate is higher due to presenting with more advanced breast cancer and late diagnosis.

While AHPN strongly welcomes the findings from this study, it is clear that more needs to be done to increase screening uptake and awareness of breast cancer among BME populations. For more information about breast cancer click here