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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Nov 25, 2011


A new study from Macmillan Cancer Support, a UK charity, shows that survival rates for breast, colon, and other cancers have improved "dramatically" over the last 40 years, reports The Guardian's James Melkle. However, the study also warns that there has been a lack of investment in other forms of the disease like lung, pancreatic, and brain cancers, which results in uncertain survival for patients. "The analysis of figures for 20 different cancers, based on London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine research, suggests overall median survival times in England and Wales — the time it takes until half those diagnosed have died — have improved from one year for those diagnosed in 1971-72 to 5.8 years for patients diagnosed in 2007," Melkle says. "Six cancers, including colon and breast cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, have median survival times of more than 10 years." But for nine other cancers, the average survival rate remains less than three years. Cancer Research UK's Peter Johnson tells Melkle that earlier diagnosis and specializations in surgery and chemotherapy will bring big improvements, but that cancer rates will increase as the population ages.

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.