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Yorkshire Cancer Research announces £7.3 million in funding for new research

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Nikki Brady


More than 10,000 people in Yorkshire will have the opportunity to take part in world-leading research following £7.3 million in funding from Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Five pioneering studies and clinical trials will be brought to people living in the region as part of the independent charity’s aim to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in Yorkshire.

The following research has received funding:

Genetic screening

Thousands of women living in Yorkshire will be offered tests to find out if they are at high risk of cancer as part of a new clinical trial.

One in every 20 cancers in women are caused by genetic faults that are passed down through families and are potentially preventable. However, 97% of women with these genetic faults remain unidentified.

If found through testing, women can take measures to prevent breast, bowel, womb and ovarian cancer developing, such as surgery to remove the breasts, ovaries or womb, or taking medication. They can also get screened regularly so that if they do develop cancer they are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage when more treatment options may be available and survival is more likely.

This £3.1 million trial, led by Professor Ranjit Manchanda at Queen Mary University of London, will investigate the risks, benefits and feasibility of introducing testing for all women.

Improving radiotherapy

A different way of treating people with prostate cancer will be investigated by researchers at the University of Leeds.

Led by Dr Ann Henry, a £1.1 million trial will explore how radiotherapy can be made more effective for men whose cancer has come back following an initial course of treatment intended to cure it.

Radiotherapy is usually given in three to five treatment visits and only targets the area directly affected by the cancer. By widening the area targeted, the treatment may be better at stopping the cancer from spreading.

This alternative method is usually given in 20 treatment visits, but the research team will test if it could also be given in five visits without increasing side effects.

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Exercise for reducing the risk of cancer reccurrence

A new £1.1 million clinical trial will test the benefits of personalised, home-based exercise programmes for people with lung, breast or bowel cancer.

Evidence suggests that exercise after cancer treatment can reduce the risk of dying from bowel or breast cancer by as much as 40% compared to those who are inactive.

The study, led by Dr Cynthia Forbes at Hull York Medical School, the University of Hull, will involve 660 people in Yorkshire, who will receive support from specially trained exercise professionals.

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At home cervical screening

Women aged 65-79 who are no longer automatically invited for cervical screening will be offered an at-home urine test in a new study led by Ms Clare Gilham and Professor Julian Peto at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The test can detect HPV (Human papillomavirus), which is linked to nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Those with HPV will be able to access further tests and screening to prevent cancer developing.

It is anticipated that more than 5000 women in Hull will be invited to participate in this £1.5 million research study, which aims to discover if at-home tests are an effective way to reduce cancer in this older age group.

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Improving screening uptake

Led by Dr Melanie Cooper and Professor Marcus Rattray at the University of Bradford, a £441,000 study will explore new ways to encourage women in the South Asian community to take part in screening.

Working in partnership with community groups and people from the Muslim community, including Leaders and Imams, the team will develop new information and resources that will be shared with thousands of Muslim families.

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Each week in Yorkshire almost 600 people are diagnosed with cancer. Compared to England as a whole, Yorkshire has higher rates of cancer and cancer deaths, with some areas having some of the poorest survival statistics in the country.

Yorkshire is also home to some of the most deprived areas in the country, where fewer cancers are diagnosed early and more people die from the disease.

An estimated 200 lives will be saved during the process of conducting the research, with the potential to use successful findings to inform cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment and save even more lives in the future.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Yorkshire is one of the regions hardest hit by cancer, and that’s why it’s so important that people living here are able to take part in pioneering and innovative studies. With cancer screening, GP appointments, diagnostic tests and treatment significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have a huge task on our hands. These trials will save lives.”

Every 17 minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire

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