06:20pm Tuesday 21 January 2020

'Critical gaps' in breast cancer research

Globally, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women, with an estimated 1.38 million new cases per year. 50,000 cases in women and 400 in men are recorded each year in the UK alone.

Published today by Breast Cancer Campaign, the research brought together more than 100 internationally recognised scientists, clinicians and healthcare professionals, along with patient advocates, to explore which gaps in research, if filled, would bring the greatest patient benefits.

The gaps range from identifying lifestyle changes which could enable women to protect themselves from the disease to a better understanding of how tumours grow and spread to other parts of the body.

Some of the gaps concern the need for new treatments – particularly for secondary or metastatic cancer, where the tumour spreads to other parts of the body. There is a need for biopsies, ortissue samples, to be taken from these secondary cancers, because they are often not the same as the primary cancer, according to the researchers.

Further research is needed to understand what it is that enables breast tumours to become resistant to drugs and to spread throughout the body.

A better understanding of prevention is also required to identify which sustainable changes in lifestyle, such as diet and exercise, can reduce a woman’s chance of developing cancer in the first place.

*Projected total number of female deaths from breast cancer in the UK from 2014-2030. Calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, September 2013 based on data from Sasieni P, et al. Cancer mortality projections in the UK to 2030 (unpublished). Analyses undertaken and data supplied upon request; September 2012. Similardata can be found on the Cancer Research UK Cancer Statistics Website. Read more.

Notes to editors

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