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'Gaps' in breast cancer research

03 October 2013 09:14

There are 'critical gaps' in breast cancer research

There are 'critical gaps' in breast cancer research

Urgent action is needed to improve research into breast cancer, or more than 180,000 women will die from the disease by 2030, a report has warned.

The charity Breast Cancer Campaign commissioned a major review of breast cancer research, which identified 10 key areas where more study is required if the condition is to be overcome within the next 40 years.

They include better understanding of genetic changes, targeting breast screening at those who will benefit the most, and raising awareness of how cancer can be prevented through diet and lifestyle.

Scientists also want to collect tissue samples to understand more about what happens when cancer begins to spread.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, said: "If we don't act now, by 2030 more than 1.2 million women could be living with or after a breast cancer diagnosis and around 185,000 lives could have been lost to breast cancer.

"We want future mothers, daughters and wives to have their breast cancer prevented, cured or for them to outlive the disease, and hope that together we can achieve this by 2050."

In the meantime, patients who need to get away from it all can take out breast cancer travel insurance before holidaying abroad.

This new report on cancer research, developed by more than 100 scientists, clinicians and healthcare workers, is published in the journal Breast Cancer Research.

Author Professor Sue Eccles, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, also called for more to be done to understand changes in cancers that have spread around the body.

"Our biggest problem is knowing what happens when cancers progress and escape from therapy," she said.

"There's no point in looking at the primary tumour, 80% of which are curable. It's the 20% that escape. By only getting material from the primary, we don't know what the problem is. This is why we really need the material from the secondary cancers."

Breast Cancer Campaign has come up with an action plan that sets out how scientists, funding groups, industry, policy makers and government can team up to address the gaps in research. It aims to raise £100 million over the next 10 years to tackle the problems.