Tag Archives: cancer

UK cancer survival rates lag behind those of other European countries – study

Cancer survival rates in the UK continue to lag behind those of other European countries, research suggests, with experts flagging the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

The report is the latest to highlight the problem, with previous research suggesting that UK survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden.

“It is quite clear that outcomes in the vast majority of cancers are not where they need to be in the UK,” said Richard Torbett, executive director of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which funded the latest study.

The research, lead by the Swedish Institute for Health Economics, expands on previous work which looked at a number of studies to assess the state of cancer care across Europe between 1995 and 2014.

The latest findings, launched with a website to showcase the data, offer an in-depth analysis of the UK situation, revealing that the number of new cases of cancer between 1995 and 2012 increased by 31% in total across Europe, and 12% in the UK.

The study suggests that although cancer survival rates have increased over the years, the UK’s improvements often lag behind those of other European countries.

With the exception of a type of skin cancer known as melanoma, the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with nine other types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. While the five-year survival rates for colon cancer hit 58% on average across Europe, the figure for the UK was 52%.

What’s more, the UK was second only to Bulgaria for the worst five-year survival rates for lung cancer, with UK figures for patients diagnosed between 2000-2007 also below those for countries including Norway and Sweden for cases diagnosed around a decade earlier.

Analysis of 2014 figures further showed that while the UK spent 9.1% of its GDP on healthcare in 2014, the European average was 10.1%. Looking specifically at cancer spending, compared to countries including France, Denmark, Austria and Ireland, the UK spent less on cancer per person, with Germany spending almost twice as much per head.

“That investment covers everything: that is, from diagnosis through to surgery, radiotherapy, medicines are obviously included in that – but so is everything else,” said Torbett. “It is not particularly surprising that, if there is significant under-investment, the UK isn’t seeing the scale and speed of benefits that are seen in some of these other European countries.”

The report also highlighted that the UK is lagging behind other large European countries, including France and Germany, in the uptake of new drugs.

With cancer now a greater disease burden than cardiovascular disease in the UK, experts say more needs to be done.

“While we have seen really big improvements in our survival in areas like breast cancer, prostate cancer and testicular cancer, there are some other cancers like lung, pancreatic, brain and oesophageal cancers where we really haven’t made as much progress as we would like,” said Emlyn Samuel, senior policy manager at Cancer Research UK.

While Samuel stressed that improving early diagnosis is an important part of improving survival rates, he added that it is also crucial to make sure that new drugs and other treatments are available and accessible to patients. “The report shows that the UK is slower at adopting innovative cancer medicines than other countries and that is a concern, and something we want to see movement on,” he said.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, agreed but added that it isn’t enough to look only at survival rates. “It’s crucial that patients don’t simply survive but are supported to have the best possible quality of life they can,” she said.

A spokeswoman for NHS England said cancer survival is at a “record high” in England, and pointed out that a report, commissioned by NHS England and published in 2015 by an independent cancer taskforce, highlighted that improving cancer outcomes in the UK was not simply a case of pushing more funding into the pharmaceutical industry.

“The ABPI is hardly a disinterested commentator and it should have the intellectual honesty to acknowledge what the independent cancer taskforce set out, namely that the biggest opportunities for further improvements in UK cancer survival currently come mainly from earlier diagnosis, and modern radiotherapy and surgery, as against just higher spending on cancer drugs with a modest impact on life expectancy,” she said.

Tall men at bigger risk of aggressive prostate cancer, study suggests

Tall men are at greater risk of contracting aggressive prostate cancer and of dying from the disease, the findings of a large study suggest.

British scientists found that every 10cm increment in height increased the chance of developing high-grade prostate cancer by 21% and the risk of death from the disease by 17%. They also found that obesity raised the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

The lead researcher, Dr Aurora Pérez-Cornago from Oxford University, said: “The finding of high risk in taller men may provide insights into the mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development – for example, related to early nutrition and growth.

“We also found that a healthy body weight is associated with a reduced risk of high-grade prostate cancer and death from prostate cancer years later.”

The study, published in BMC Medicine on Thursday, found that increased height was not associated with overall risk of contracting prostate cancer, but only with the aggressive forms of the disease.

Total prostate cancer risk was found to be related to body mass index and waist circumference, but the latter is considered a better proxy for obesity as muscular people can have a high BMI. Every extra 10cm on the waistline was associated with a 13% greater likelihood of having high-grade prostate cancer and an 18% bigger risk of dying from the disease.

Obesity has been linked to 11 common cancers, but the researchers believe their findings on weight could be – at least partially – a result of detection issues.

They say obese men may be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, because they have lower concentrations of prostate-specific antigens, are less likely to undergo a biopsy and tend to have larger prostates, making detection more difficult. A reduced likelihood of early detection and treatment might lead to greater incidence of aggressive disease and higher mortality, the researchers suggest.

The analysis drew from data on 141,896 men, nearly all of whom were white, in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. After an average of 13.9 years of follow-up, there were 7,024 cases of prostate cancer, including 726 high-grade cases and 934 deaths from the disease.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “It is certainly interesting that, according to this research, certain physical characteristics appear to increase a man’s likelihood of developing aggressive prostate cancer, as it might provide pointers to help uncover certain genetic markers and early developmental processes which hold significance in terms of causing the disease to develop.

“It also underlines once again the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to help defend against a host of diseases, including prostate cancer.”

However, Hobbs stressed that the disease could affect men of all shapes and sizes.

In 2014, there were 46,960 new cases of prostate cancer and 11,287 deaths from the disease in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK. Dr Jasmine Just, the charity’s health information officer, said maintaining a healthy weight could help men reduce the risk of contracting a number of different cancers, but that the link between obesity and aggressive prostate cancer was still unclear.

“Further studies are also needed to understand if men who are overweight or obese might be at a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer and, if so, why,” she added.

Tall men at bigger risk of aggressive prostate cancer, study suggests

Tall men are at greater risk of contracting aggressive prostate cancer and of dying from the disease, the findings of a large study suggest.

British scientists found that every 10cm increment in height increased the chance of developing high-grade prostate cancer by 21% and the risk of death from the disease by 17%. They also found that obesity raised the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

The lead researcher, Dr Aurora Pérez-Cornago from Oxford University, said: “The finding of high risk in taller men may provide insights into the mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development – for example, related to early nutrition and growth.

“We also found that a healthy body weight is associated with a reduced risk of high-grade prostate cancer and death from prostate cancer years later.”

The study, published in BMC Medicine on Thursday, found that increased height was not associated with overall risk of contracting prostate cancer, but only with the aggressive forms of the disease.

Total prostate cancer risk was found to be related to body mass index and waist circumference, but the latter is considered a better proxy for obesity as muscular people can have a high BMI. Every extra 10cm on the waistline was associated with a 13% greater likelihood of having high-grade prostate cancer and an 18% bigger risk of dying from the disease.

Obesity has been linked to 11 common cancers, but the researchers believe their findings on weight could be – at least partially – a result of detection issues.

They say obese men may be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, because they have lower concentrations of prostate-specific antigens, are less likely to undergo a biopsy and tend to have larger prostates, making detection more difficult. A reduced likelihood of early detection and treatment might lead to greater incidence of aggressive disease and higher mortality, the researchers suggest.

The analysis drew from data on 141,896 men, nearly all of whom were white, in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. After an average of 13.9 years of follow-up, there were 7,024 cases of prostate cancer, including 726 high-grade cases and 934 deaths from the disease.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “It is certainly interesting that, according to this research, certain physical characteristics appear to increase a man’s likelihood of developing aggressive prostate cancer, as it might provide pointers to help uncover certain genetic markers and early developmental processes which hold significance in terms of causing the disease to develop.

“It also underlines once again the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to help defend against a host of diseases, including prostate cancer.”

However, Hobbs stressed that the disease could affect men of all shapes and sizes.

In 2014, there were 46,960 new cases of prostate cancer and 11,287 deaths from the disease in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK. Dr Jasmine Just, the charity’s health information officer, said maintaining a healthy weight could help men reduce the risk of contracting a number of different cancers, but that the link between obesity and aggressive prostate cancer was still unclear.

“Further studies are also needed to understand if men who are overweight or obese might be at a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer and, if so, why,” she added.

Tall men at bigger risk of aggressive prostate cancer, study suggests

Tall men are at greater risk of contracting aggressive prostate cancer and of dying from the disease, the findings of a large study suggest.

British scientists found that every 10cm increment in height increased the chance of developing high-grade prostate cancer by 21% and the risk of death from the disease by 17%. They also found that obesity raised the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

The lead researcher, Dr Aurora Pérez-Cornago from Oxford University, said: “The finding of high risk in taller men may provide insights into the mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development – for example, related to early nutrition and growth.

“We also found that a healthy body weight is associated with a reduced risk of high-grade prostate cancer and death from prostate cancer years later.”

The study, published in BMC Medicine on Thursday, found that increased height was not associated with overall risk of contracting prostate cancer, but only with the aggressive forms of the disease.

Total prostate cancer risk was found to be related to body mass index and waist circumference, but the latter is considered a better proxy for obesity as muscular people can have a high BMI. Every extra 10cm on the waistline was associated with a 13% greater likelihood of having high-grade prostate cancer and an 18% bigger risk of dying from the disease.

Obesity has been linked to 11 common cancers, but the researchers believe their findings on weight could be – at least partially – a result of detection issues.

They say obese men may be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, because they have lower concentrations of prostate-specific antigens, are less likely to undergo a biopsy and tend to have larger prostates, making detection more difficult. A reduced likelihood of early detection and treatment might lead to greater incidence of aggressive disease and higher mortality, the researchers suggest.

The analysis drew from data on 141,896 men, nearly all of whom were white, in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. After an average of 13.9 years of follow-up, there were 7,024 cases of prostate cancer, including 726 high-grade cases and 934 deaths from the disease.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “It is certainly interesting that, according to this research, certain physical characteristics appear to increase a man’s likelihood of developing aggressive prostate cancer, as it might provide pointers to help uncover certain genetic markers and early developmental processes which hold significance in terms of causing the disease to develop.

“It also underlines once again the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to help defend against a host of diseases, including prostate cancer.”

However, Hobbs stressed that the disease could affect men of all shapes and sizes.

In 2014, there were 46,960 new cases of prostate cancer and 11,287 deaths from the disease in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK. Dr Jasmine Just, the charity’s health information officer, said maintaining a healthy weight could help men reduce the risk of contracting a number of different cancers, but that the link between obesity and aggressive prostate cancer was still unclear.

“Further studies are also needed to understand if men who are overweight or obese might be at a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer and, if so, why,” she added.

Tall men at bigger risk of aggressive prostate cancer, study suggests

Tall men are at greater risk of contracting aggressive prostate cancer and of dying from the disease, the findings of a large study suggest.

British scientists found that every 10cm increment in height increased the chance of developing high-grade prostate cancer by 21% and the risk of death from the disease by 17%. They also found that obesity raised the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

The lead researcher, Dr Aurora Pérez-Cornago from Oxford University, said: “The finding of high risk in taller men may provide insights into the mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development – for example, related to early nutrition and growth.

“We also found that a healthy body weight is associated with a reduced risk of high-grade prostate cancer and death from prostate cancer years later.”

The study, published in BMC Medicine on Thursday, found that increased height was not associated with overall risk of contracting prostate cancer, but only with the aggressive forms of the disease.

Total prostate cancer risk was found to be related to body mass index and waist circumference, but the latter is considered a better proxy for obesity as muscular people can have a high BMI. Every extra 10cm on the waistline was associated with a 13% greater likelihood of having high-grade prostate cancer and an 18% bigger risk of dying from the disease.

Obesity has been linked to 11 common cancers, but the researchers believe their findings on weight could be – at least partially – a result of detection issues.

They say obese men may be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, because they have lower concentrations of prostate-specific antigens, are less likely to undergo a biopsy and tend to have larger prostates, making detection more difficult. A reduced likelihood of early detection and treatment might lead to greater incidence of aggressive disease and higher mortality, the researchers suggest.

The analysis drew from data on 141,896 men, nearly all of whom were white, in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. After an average of 13.9 years of follow-up, there were 7,024 cases of prostate cancer, including 726 high-grade cases and 934 deaths from the disease.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “It is certainly interesting that, according to this research, certain physical characteristics appear to increase a man’s likelihood of developing aggressive prostate cancer, as it might provide pointers to help uncover certain genetic markers and early developmental processes which hold significance in terms of causing the disease to develop.

“It also underlines once again the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to help defend against a host of diseases, including prostate cancer.”

However, Hobbs stressed that the disease could affect men of all shapes and sizes.

In 2014, there were 46,960 new cases of prostate cancer and 11,287 deaths from the disease in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK. Dr Jasmine Just, the charity’s health information officer, said maintaining a healthy weight could help men reduce the risk of contracting a number of different cancers, but that the link between obesity and aggressive prostate cancer was still unclear.

“Further studies are also needed to understand if men who are overweight or obese might be at a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer and, if so, why,” she added.

Britons are among most at-risk in Europe for alcohol-related cancer

Britons who have two alcoholic drinks a day are at higher risk of developing two of the most lethal forms of cancer, according to a report that confirms the link between regular alcohol consumption and the disease.

People in the UK drink the eighth most out of the European Union’s 28 member states, a report by medical group United European Gastroenterology (UEG) found.

Britons consume an average of 2.1 alcoholic drinks every day, just above the two drinks threshold that significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with either bowel or oesophageal cancer.

Those two drinks are enough to raise a person’s risk of getting bowel cancer by 21%. Anyone having four or more drinks a day is at risk of three other cancers: liver, gastric and pancreatic cancer.

The UK’s position in the league table of alcohol consumption is alongside Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Their citizens also typically have 2.1 drinks a day, which equates to 26.7 grams of alcohol daily or 12.3 litres of pure alcohol across the year.

Lithuania topped the list, with average consumption of 3.2 drinks a day, followed by the Czech Republic and Romania, whose citizens have 2.4 drinks daily.

Britons drink slightly more than either France or Germany, where the average is two drinks. In Ireland the figure is 1.9 drinks, which is also the average across the 28 EU nations. Malta and Italy, on 1.3 drinks a day, came joint last.

“These findings show clearly that because of current consumption levels in Britain we are some of the most at-risk people for developing these types of cancers,” said Sir Ian Gilmore, the chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA).

“This is not surprising when enough alcohol is sold in England and Wales for every drinker to consume 50% more than the weekly limit recommended by the UK’s chief medical officers.

“Alcohol is a group one carcinogen and while the evidence shows any level of drinking increases cancer risk, this risk increases in line with the level of consumption,” added Gilmore, an ex-president of the Royal College of Physicians.

The AHA says that alcohol-related health harm is so great, and awareness of the link between drink and cancer so low at just 10%, that alcohol manufacturers should be forced to put health warnings on the labels of cans and bottles.

It is also urging ministers to organise sustained campaigns to alert the public to the dangers of drinking and to introduce minimum unit pricing, as Scotland is seeking to do, in order to reduce overall consumption and damage to health.

UEG is a professional body that represents 22,000 experts in digestive diseases across the EU, and includes doctors, surgeons, paediatricians and specialists in gastrointestinal cancers.

Europe drinks more alcohol per head of population than anywhere else in the world and consumption in none of the 28 countries is rated as “light” – one drink or less per day, UEG said. The two drinks a day European average counts as “moderate” intake, which is enough to increase the risk of bowel and oesophageal cancer.

Professor Markus Peck, a member of UEG’s public affairs committee and the ex-secretary general of the European Association of the Study of the Liver, said: “One of the main challenges in addressing high drinking levels is how deeply embedded alcohol consumption is within the European society, both socially and culturally.

“Political action like minimum pricing and reducing access to alcohol needs to be taken now to prevent many future casualties.”

It wants reduction of alcohol harm to be a key priority of the Council of the European Union under its new Estonian presidency, including tougher controls on marketing and moves to limit drinking at work, as France has introduced.

Britons are among most at-risk in Europe for alcohol-related cancer

Britons who have two alcoholic drinks a day are at higher risk of developing two of the most lethal forms of cancer, according to a report that confirms the link between regular alcohol consumption and the disease.

People in the UK drink the eighth most out of the European Union’s 28 member states, a report by medical group United European Gastroenterology (UEG) found.

Britons consume an average of 2.1 alcoholic drinks every day, just above the two drinks threshold that significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with either bowel or oesophageal cancer.

Those two drinks are enough to raise a person’s risk of getting bowel cancer by 21%. Anyone having four or more drinks a day is at risk of three other cancers: liver, gastric and pancreatic cancer.

The UK’s position in the league table of alcohol consumption is alongside Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Their citizens also typically have 2.1 drinks a day, which equates to 26.7 grams of alcohol daily or 12.3 litres of pure alcohol across the year.

Lithuania topped the list, with average consumption of 3.2 drinks a day, followed by the Czech Republic and Romania, whose citizens have 2.4 drinks daily.

Britons drink slightly more than either France or Germany, where the average is two drinks. In Ireland the figure is 1.9 drinks, which is also the average across the 28 EU nations. Malta and Italy, on 1.3 drinks a day, came joint last.

“These findings show clearly that because of current consumption levels in Britain we are some of the most at-risk people for developing these types of cancers,” said Sir Ian Gilmore, the chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA).

“This is not surprising when enough alcohol is sold in England and Wales for every drinker to consume 50% more than the weekly limit recommended by the UK’s chief medical officers.

“Alcohol is a group one carcinogen and while the evidence shows any level of drinking increases cancer risk, this risk increases in line with the level of consumption,” added Gilmore, an ex-president of the Royal College of Physicians.

The AHA says that alcohol-related health harm is so great, and awareness of the link between drink and cancer so low at just 10%, that alcohol manufacturers should be forced to put health warnings on the labels of cans and bottles.

It is also urging ministers to organise sustained campaigns to alert the public to the dangers of drinking and to introduce minimum unit pricing, as Scotland is seeking to do, in order to reduce overall consumption and damage to health.

UEG is a professional body that represents 22,000 experts in digestive diseases across the EU, and includes doctors, surgeons, paediatricians and specialists in gastrointestinal cancers.

Europe drinks more alcohol per head of population than anywhere else in the world and consumption in none of the 28 countries is rated as “light” – one drink or less per day, UEG said. The two drinks a day European average counts as “moderate” intake, which is enough to increase the risk of bowel and oesophageal cancer.

Professor Markus Peck, a member of UEG’s public affairs committee and the ex-secretary general of the European Association of the Study of the Liver, said: “One of the main challenges in addressing high drinking levels is how deeply embedded alcohol consumption is within the European society, both socially and culturally.

“Political action like minimum pricing and reducing access to alcohol needs to be taken now to prevent many future casualties.”

It wants reduction of alcohol harm to be a key priority of the Council of the European Union under its new Estonian presidency, including tougher controls on marketing and moves to limit drinking at work, as France has introduced.

Britons are among most at-risk in Europe for alcohol-related cancer

Britons who have two alcoholic drinks a day are at higher risk of developing two of the most lethal forms of cancer, according to a report that confirms the link between regular alcohol consumption and the disease.

People in the UK drink the eighth most out of the European Union’s 28 member states, a report by medical group United European Gastroenterology (UEG) found.

Britons consume an average of 2.1 alcoholic drinks every day, just above the two drinks threshold that significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with either bowel or oesophageal cancer.

Those two drinks are enough to raise a person’s risk of getting bowel cancer by 21%. Anyone having four or more drinks a day is at risk of three other cancers: liver, gastric and pancreatic cancer.

The UK’s position in the league table of alcohol consumption is alongside Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Their citizens also typically have 2.1 drinks a day, which equates to 26.7 grams of alcohol daily or 12.3 litres of pure alcohol across the year.

Lithuania topped the list, with average consumption of 3.2 drinks a day, followed by the Czech Republic and Romania, whose citizens have 2.4 drinks daily.

Britons drink slightly more than either France or Germany, where the average is two drinks. In Ireland the figure is 1.9 drinks, which is also the average across the 28 EU nations. Malta and Italy, on 1.3 drinks a day, came joint last.

“These findings show clearly that because of current consumption levels in Britain we are some of the most at-risk people for developing these types of cancers,” said Sir Ian Gilmore, the chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA).

“This is not surprising when enough alcohol is sold in England and Wales for every drinker to consume 50% more than the weekly limit recommended by the UK’s chief medical officers.

“Alcohol is a group one carcinogen and while the evidence shows any level of drinking increases cancer risk, this risk increases in line with the level of consumption,” added Gilmore, an ex-president of the Royal College of Physicians.

The AHA says that alcohol-related health harm is so great, and awareness of the link between drink and cancer so low at just 10%, that alcohol manufacturers should be forced to put health warnings on the labels of cans and bottles.

It is also urging ministers to organise sustained campaigns to alert the public to the dangers of drinking and to introduce minimum unit pricing, as Scotland is seeking to do, in order to reduce overall consumption and damage to health.

UEG is a professional body that represents 22,000 experts in digestive diseases across the EU, and includes doctors, surgeons, paediatricians and specialists in gastrointestinal cancers.

Europe drinks more alcohol per head of population than anywhere else in the world and consumption in none of the 28 countries is rated as “light” – one drink or less per day, UEG said. The two drinks a day European average counts as “moderate” intake, which is enough to increase the risk of bowel and oesophageal cancer.

Professor Markus Peck, a member of UEG’s public affairs committee and the ex-secretary general of the European Association of the Study of the Liver, said: “One of the main challenges in addressing high drinking levels is how deeply embedded alcohol consumption is within the European society, both socially and culturally.

“Political action like minimum pricing and reducing access to alcohol needs to be taken now to prevent many future casualties.”

It wants reduction of alcohol harm to be a key priority of the Council of the European Union under its new Estonian presidency, including tougher controls on marketing and moves to limit drinking at work, as France has introduced.

Britons are among most at-risk in Europe for alcohol-related cancer

Britons who have two alcoholic drinks a day are at higher risk of developing two of the most lethal forms of cancer, according to a report that confirms the link between regular alcohol consumption and the disease.

People in the UK drink the eighth most out of the European Union’s 28 member states, a report by medical group United European Gastroenterology (UEG) found.

Britons consume an average of 2.1 alcoholic drinks every day, just above the two drinks threshold that significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with either bowel or oesophageal cancer.

Those two drinks are enough to raise a person’s risk of getting bowel cancer by 21%. Anyone having four or more drinks a day is at risk of three other cancers: liver, gastric and pancreatic cancer.

The UK’s position in the league table of alcohol consumption is alongside Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Their citizens also typically have 2.1 drinks a day, which equates to 26.7 grams of alcohol daily or 12.3 litres of pure alcohol across the year.

Lithuania topped the list, with average consumption of 3.2 drinks a day, followed by the Czech Republic and Romania, whose citizens have 2.4 drinks daily.

Britons drink slightly more than either France or Germany, where the average is two drinks. In Ireland the figure is 1.9 drinks, which is also the average across the 28 EU nations. Malta and Italy, on 1.3 drinks a day, came joint last.

“These findings show clearly that because of current consumption levels in Britain we are some of the most at-risk people for developing these types of cancers,” said Sir Ian Gilmore, the chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA).

“This is not surprising when enough alcohol is sold in England and Wales for every drinker to consume 50% more than the weekly limit recommended by the UK’s chief medical officers.

“Alcohol is a group one carcinogen and while the evidence shows any level of drinking increases cancer risk, this risk increases in line with the level of consumption,” added Gilmore, an ex-president of the Royal College of Physicians.

The AHA says that alcohol-related health harm is so great, and awareness of the link between drink and cancer so low at just 10%, that alcohol manufacturers should be forced to put health warnings on the labels of cans and bottles.

It is also urging ministers to organise sustained campaigns to alert the public to the dangers of drinking and to introduce minimum unit pricing, as Scotland is seeking to do, in order to reduce overall consumption and damage to health.

UEG is a professional body that represents 22,000 experts in digestive diseases across the EU, and includes doctors, surgeons, paediatricians and specialists in gastrointestinal cancers.

Europe drinks more alcohol per head of population than anywhere else in the world and consumption in none of the 28 countries is rated as “light” – one drink or less per day, UEG said. The two drinks a day European average counts as “moderate” intake, which is enough to increase the risk of bowel and oesophageal cancer.

Professor Markus Peck, a member of UEG’s public affairs committee and the ex-secretary general of the European Association of the Study of the Liver, said: “One of the main challenges in addressing high drinking levels is how deeply embedded alcohol consumption is within the European society, both socially and culturally.

“Political action like minimum pricing and reducing access to alcohol needs to be taken now to prevent many future casualties.”

It wants reduction of alcohol harm to be a key priority of the Council of the European Union under its new Estonian presidency, including tougher controls on marketing and moves to limit drinking at work, as France has introduced.

Manchester gets UK’s first high-energy proton beam cancer therapy machine

A 90-tonne machine that will allow cancer patients to receive state-of-the-art high-energy proton beam therapy on the NHS for the first time is to be installed at a hospital in Manchester.

The cyclotron delivers a special type of radiotherapy currently only available overseas. The NHS has been paying for patients to travel abroad for the treatment since 2008.

A 90-metre (300ft) crane will be used to lower the machine into position at the Christie hospital on Thursday. It will sit in a bunker reinforced with 270 timber, steel and concrete posts.

Proton beam therapy targets certain cancers very precisely, increasing success rates and reducing side-effects. It causes less damage to healthy tissue surrounding the tumour and is particularly appropriate for certain cancers in children, who are more at risk of lasting damage because their organs are still growing.

The treatment came to national attention in 2014 when a police search was mounted after the parents of five-year-old Ashya King took him out of hospital against doctors’ wishes and travelled to the continent. The couple hoped to secure proton beam therapy to treat their son’s brain tumour, but doctors argued that the treatment would not increase the boy’s chances of recovery.

The proton beam centre in Manchester aims to admit its first patients in August 2018 and is expected to treat 750 patients a year. University College hospital in London will open a second proton beam centre in the summer of 2020. The government has invested £250m in establishing the two centres.

The cyclotron, which was built in Germany and is only the 14th machine of its kind, works by accelerating a proton stream of ionised hydrogen gas to two-thirds the speed of light, or more than 100,000 miles per second. The Manchester machine has been nicknamed Emmeline, after Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the suffragette movement, who was born nearby.

In 1989, Clatterbridge cancer centre became the first hospital-based proton treatment centre in the world, when it unveiled its low-energy proton beam machine, which is used for eye treatment. The Christie hospital will become the first in the UK to use a high-energy proton beam, which is used for a wider variety of cancers.

The mayor of Greater Manchester said the Christie centre was a beacon of hope for people with cancer and their families. “This new facility is another crucial step forward in beating this disease, and to have it here in Greater Manchester, the first of its kind in the UK, is just fantastic,” Andy Burnham said.

“At the moment, people have to travel abroad to receive this type of therapy, but soon it will be available closer to home. This will make a huge difference to people receiving treatment, and their loved ones.”