Cancer treatment: sorting the good news from the hype

14/08/2017 Naomi Elster 0

The newspapers love a cancer research story, but many are misleading or won’t affect patients for many years. But there is plenty of progress worth reporting

Every news story about cancer research should come with a health warning: believe the hope, but not the hype. Good headlines are quick and catchy, good science is steady steps taken on a complicated issue over a long time. If a new treatment is still being researched, it could be metaphorical miles and actual years away from getting into the hands or bodies of patients. As blogger Kay Curtin, who has advanced melanoma, puts it: “The media tend to pick one line on a report and run with it, but they do not draw attention or highlight that it’s just a potential benefit, or the fact that many of these are just proven in a petri dish or a mouse and very often do not prove effective when tested on humans. It is cruel to existing patients to make claims with misleading headlines.”

One of the best ways to deal with cancer is to divide and conquer, based on as much knowledge as we can get of how individual tumours work. Treating all cancers from the same part of the body equally isn’t good enough – you must match the right patient with the right treatment.

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Don’t punish cancer patients twice – please respect their workplace rights | Ranjana Srivastava

14/08/2017 Ranjana Srivastava 0

Reintegration into society is the best therapy for people recovering from cancer. A kind environment is one of the most helpful things an employer can provide

  • Ranjana Srivastava is a Guardian Australia columnist

“If you stop my cancer treatment, I can get my job back.”

I’m surprised. My patient had told me previously that she just found a new job.

Related: After surviving cancer I thought work would go back to normal – I was wrong

Related: Falling ill can often mean financial ruin for patients – but it shouldn’t | Ranjana Srivastava

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Don’t punish cancer patients twice – please respect their workplace rights | Ranjana Srivastava

14/08/2017 Ranjana Srivastava 0

Reintegration into society is the best therapy for people recovering from cancer. A kind environment is one of the most helpful things an employer can provide

  • Ranjana Srivastava is a Guardian Australia columnist

“If you stop my cancer treatment, I can get my job back.”

I’m surprised. My patient had told me previously that she just found a new job.

Related: After surviving cancer I thought work would go back to normal – I was wrong

Related: Falling ill can often mean financial ruin for patients – but it shouldn’t | Ranjana Srivastava

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Health inequality gap ‘is still growing’ in England, new Department of Health data shows

Poor people face years of failing health and earlier death compared to the rich, despite government pledges to reduce inequality

The health gap between rich and poor is growing in England, according to shocking figures compiled by the Department of Health.

Despite government pledges to reduce inequalities in areas such as life expectancy and susceptibility to disability and disease, those living in the most deprived areas of the country run a greater risk of premature death, seeing a child die soon after it is born, and of ending up in hospital as an emergency case. Differing health outcomes for the rich and the poor were identified by Theresa May last year as a “burning injustice”.

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Health inequality gap ‘is still growing’ in England, new Department of Health data shows

Poor people face years of failing health and earlier death compared to the rich, despite government pledges to reduce inequality

The health gap between rich and poor is growing in England, according to shocking figures compiled by the Department of Health.

Despite government pledges to reduce inequalities in areas such as life expectancy and susceptibility to disability and disease, those living in the most deprived areas of the country run a greater risk of premature death, seeing a child die soon after it is born, and of ending up in hospital as an emergency case. Differing health outcomes for the rich and the poor were identified by Theresa May last year as a “burning injustice”.

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What I’m really thinking: the woman with breast cancer

12/08/2017 Anonymous 0

I grieve for the family celebrations I may miss, growing older with my husband, having grandchildren

There are days when I’m full of anger and sadness, and other moments when I appreciate the miracle of life. Every gesture, song or conversation now carries a deeper meaning. The intensity of hugging my husband and daughters is often unbearable, and I grieve every day for the life that cancer took away from me.

Stage four cancer sucks optimism, hope and eventually even breath. It’s like being in a very slow but inevitable fatal car crash that you replay in your mind over and over. At first, you try to navigate yourself through oncology terminology, treatments, diagnosis, scans, but later you realise there is no safety belt or steering wheel to hold on to. I have incredible support and love, but I often feel very alone in my thoughts and experiences. I can’t relate to others who have the privilege of good health or the power to improve their situations.

Related: What I’m really thinking: the eldest child

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Robert Manne on having cancer: ‘I am interested in why I felt no fear’

11/08/2017 Brigid Delaney 0

The prolific writer and commentator talks about his second cancer diagnosis and rethinking his relationship with hospitals and his own body

Robert Manne is one of Australia’s most distinguished intellectuals and a frequent participant in public debate. He has written on everything from asylum seekers to the Holocaust to Wikileaks to the Stolen Generation. Manne’s politics also famously shifted in the mid 1990s from the right wing to the left.

But one form Manne hasn’t explored yet is the personal essay. A throat cancer diagnosis – first in 2008, then again last year – has given him reams of new material and experiences to chew over. In an operation late last year, he lost his ability to smell and to talk without the aid of a device.

Related: August book list: Julian Burnside, Rachel Leary and Kim Scott on their writing and reading

Related: The Memory Chalet by Tony Judt – review

Related: Top 10 books about cancer

Related: Neil deGrasse Tyson: fighting science denial starts with people, not politicians

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